More MS news articles for Feb 2002

Maxygen Announces Advancement of Improved Interferon Beta for Multiple Sclerosis

Feb 21, 2002
PR Newswire - USA

Maxygen, Inc. today announced that the product under the scope of its collaboration with H. Lundbeck A/S is an optimized interferon beta, and that the companies intend to move this lead compound forward rapidly into human clinical trials.

Lundbeck in-licensed the rights to develop and commercialize the multiple sclerosis and central nervous system indications of Maxygen's interferon beta in September 2000. The lead compound has been engineered by Maxygen to have an improved drug profile for therapy, with reduced immunogenicity, increased bioavailability and substantially improved half life, to minimize side effects and maximize therapeutic efficacy.

The estimated worldwide market for interferon beta in multiple sclerosis is currently $1.5 billion, and is expected to grow to $3 billion within the next five to 10 years. Multiple sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system affecting the brain and spinal cord. It is estimated to affect up to 1 million people worldwide. Effects of multiple sclerosis are debilitating, and include loss of motor coordination, weakness or paralysis of limbs, psychological and cognitive disorders, numbness, and vision and speech impairment.

"We are delighted that Lundbeck has chosen to move Maxygen's next-generation compound aggressively towards the clinic," said Jan Moller Mikkelsen, President of Maxygen's protein pharmaceutical business unit. "Lundbeck is one of the fastest growing companies in the area of psychiatric and neurological disorders, and it is clearly committed to an improved therapy for multiple sclerosis."

"The interferon beta program is a testament to Maxygen's capabilities of rapidly translating its integrated technology platform into pharmaceutical product candidates," said Dr. Claus Braestrup, Executive Vice President of Research and Development at Lundbeck. We have enjoyed the close collaboration with Maxygen, and have benefited by Maxygen's expertise in protein drug design, formulation, and preclinical development."

Maxygen, Inc. headquartered in Redwood City, California is focused on creating novel products using its integrated proprietary technologies for human therapeutics and industrial applications. Maxygen's technologies bring together advances in molecular biology and protein modification to create novel biotechnology products. Maxygen has strategic collaborations with leading companies including Aventis, InterMune, Celltech, Lundbeck, ALK-Abello, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), Pfizer, DSM, and Shearwater Corporation. Additionally, Maxygen has a range of other strategic alliances in industrial applications, as well as funding from U.S.A. government organizations including USAID, DARPA and NIST-ATP. Maxygen currently has a pipeline of over 40 potential products, with 14 in development, and has a total of 20 strategic alliances.

This news release contains forward-looking statements about our research and business prospects, including those relating to: the timing of human clinical trials for optimized interferon beta; the therapeutic drug profile of the optimized product; the estimated market for interferon beta; the MS disease segments for which the product will be marketed and the future commercialization by Lundbeck of the product. Such statements involve risks and uncertainties that may cause results to differ materially from those set forth in these statements. Among other things these risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to: the inherent uncertainties of clinical research and development; competitors producing superior products and changing research and business priorities of Lundbeck. These and other risk factors are more fully discussed in our Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2000, including under the caption "Risk Factors," and in our other periodic SEC reports, all of which are available from Maxygen at Maxygen disclaims any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement contained in this release as a result of new information or future events or developments. Maxygen is a trademark of Maxygen.

Contact: Jeannine Medeiros, Investor/Public Relations Department of Maxygen, Inc., +1-650-298-5366

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