Archive: Company News

Company News: Probiodrug to Host Alzheimer Symposium

Despite considerable efforts to find a cure, Alzheimer’s disease  (AD) at present cannot be treated adequately, as there is no therapy available to significantly slow down disease progression, halt the disease or prevent it.
During the past years, researchers from the German-based biotech company Probiodrug have generated a compelling body of evidence that a particular variant of the notorious A beta peptide, which clumps together in the brain of AD patients to the typical plaques, is the major culprit. This variant is formed through a hitherto unknown reaction of a brain enzyme called glutaminyl cyclase (QC) and carries a pyroglutamic residue at its N-terminus. This renders it much more neurotoxic than the unmodified A-beta and also significantly reduces its solubility so that it starts aggregating.
Today, this hypothesis  is not an outsider opinion any more. On Monday, November 22, well-known Alzheimer researchers from Germany (Christian Haass, Stephan v. Hörsten, Marcus Fändrich, Thomas Bayer, Steffen Roßner, and Stephan Schilling), the U.S. (Cynthia Lemere, Lennart Mucke, Steve Jacobsen), Austria (Reinhold Schmidt), and Japan (Takaomi Saido) will meet at Probiodrug´s Halle (Saale) headquarter to provide the latest findings in the light of this hypothesis and to discuss novel therapeutic strategies. One of the approaches pursued by Probiodrug is inhibiting the formation of the toxic A-beta variant by small molecule inhibitors of the QC enzyme.
The public symposium entitled “Neurodegenerative Disorders During Aging – Contemporary Research and New Therapies” will take place on Weinberg Campus in Halle (Saale) on Monday, November 22, 2010, from 10am to 3pm. The detailed program can be found on Probiodrug‘s website.

Company News: biocrea acquires CNS pipeline and PDE inhibitor platform from Biotie

In a management-buyout, biocrea GmbH is taking over  the CNS pipeline and phosphodiesterase enzyme (PDE) inhibitor platform from Finnish Biotie Therapies Corp.

The company currently has a pipeline of three PDE inhibitors at research and preclinical stages, which will be advanced into clinical development by 2012. The compounds have already demonstrated efficacy in preclinical animal models for schizophrenia, memory impairment, depression and anxiety.

biocrea is based in Radebeul near Dresden, Germany, and will be led by Dr. Tom Kronbach, former CSO of Biotie.

More details can be found soon at biocrea’s website.

Company News: Micromet Announces IND for MT111 Trial Obtained by Partner MedImmune

Micromet, Inc. (NASDAQ: MITI) today announced that MedImmune, licensee for Micromet’s MT111, plans to initiate a Phase 1 trial in patients with advanced gastrointestinal cancers based on an investigational new drug (IND) application recently accepted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

MT111, also known as MEDI-565, is a BiTE® antibody designed to direct a patient’s T cells, the body’s most potent killer cells, against cancer cells that express carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA). CEA is a protein found on the surface of a number of gastrointestinal cancers, including colorectal, esophageal and gastric cancers.

MT111 will be Micromet’s third BiTE antibody to progress to clinical trials. Moreover, MedImmune’s decision demonstrates its ongoing confidence in the BiTE principle. Last year, MedImmune had decided to hand back to Micromet all rights to blinatumomab, a BiTE molecule in development for blood cancers.
Blinatumomab last months entered a pivotal trial in adult patients with MRD-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and a Phase II trial in adult patients with relapsed/refractory ALL.

Company News: SoluBest – A Solution Solution

– Drug Delivery Partnership with Dr. Reddy´s Announced Today –

Investors and media alike use to think of drug delivery as a boring aspect of today’s biotech and pharma business. However, noting that 40% of marketed drugs have solubility issues that cannot be easily solved and about 70% of compounds in discovery are so insoluble that they do not have adequate and consistent gastrointestinal absorption to ensure efficacy, it is clear that the problem is not trivial.

One can look at the problem also from another angle: take, for example, diclofenac, a widely used drug for the treatment of pain and inflammation. In Germany alone, patients consume about 90 metric tons per year. As about 70% of the drug is excreted unchanged because of poor solubility, this means that each year 63 tons are released into sanitary wastewater and ultimately into the environment, as sewage plants cannot clear it from the water. It is long since known that Diclofenac causes damage to fish gills and kidneys.

Better solubility of drugs means improved bioavailability and less substance necessary for the desired therapeutic effect.

There are numerous physical and chemical approaches to improve solubility, including particle size reduction, drug dispersion, complexation and microemulsions as well as nanotechnology approaches – however most add considerable costs and complexity to manufacturing and do not create novel IP.

Enter SoluBest, a new client of akampion: the company is using self-assembling constructs in which active drug molecules are uniquely interwoven with FDA-approved polymers. Once in the body, these oral, solid-dosage formulations disintegrate into colloidal dispersions, increasing drug solubility and absorption, thus improving the bio-performance of insoluble drugs and nutritional actives. Today, the company disclosed the signing of a drug delivery collaboration with Dr. Reddy’s to develop new, proprietary formulations for the Indian drug giant (see press release).

The main advantages of SoluBest’s technology are two-fold. For one, thanks to the self-assembling property of the polymers, the procedure involves just 2 steps: the preparation of a liquid feed, followed by its spray drying to obtain a solid, oral formulation. As a result, the procedure does not add extra complexity to the manufacturing process. Moreover, each formulation can be protected by composition of matter patents and therefore is ideally suited for life-cycle management.
Once in the body, formulation disintegrates into colloidal dispersions, increasing drug solubility and absorption, thus improving the bio-performance of insoluble drugs and nutritional actives.

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