Monday January 12, 2004
Source: Provid Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Provid Pharmaceuticals Inc. announced a collaboration and licensing agreement with Suntory Pharmaceutical Research Laboratories LLC ("SPRL") to develop Provid drug candidates for the treatment of multiple sclerosis ("MS").
The Provid compounds are small molecule peptide mimetic inhibitors of antigen presentation by MHC class II DR2 molecules, the receptors associated with the majority of cases of MS. Under the agreement, SPRL will pursue in vivo pharmacology and development activities, and Provid will be responsible for chemistry. The terms of the deal include upfront payments, R&D support, development milestones, and royalties.
MS is an autoimmune disease that affects over 350,000 patients in the US, and for which current therapeutics are only partially effective. Patients experience neurological symptoms as a result of the destruction of the myelin sheath of nerves triggered by immune cells that recognize myelin fragments bound to MHC DR2 molecules. A compound that blocks antigen presentation is expected to shut down the autoimmune disease process, leading to prevention of new lesions. The worldwide market today is over $2.5 billion.
Commenting on the deal, Dr. Gary Olson, Provid President & CEO, said, "We are enthusiastic to be working with the SPRL team to develop our first drug candidate in the autoimmune disease field. They appreciate the importance of structure-based drug design and the novel peptide mimetics strategy Provid has used to discover these compounds, and have a creative and efficient strategy for preclinical development that will maximize the potential for a successful collaboration."
"We are pleased to be developing drug candidates for such an important and unmet medical need in multiple sclerosis. The synergies between Provid Pharmaceuticals and SPRL create a unique opportunity for the rapid progression of MHC-DR2 inhibitors into the clinic," said Dr. Howard Benjamin, Vice- President of Corporate Development and Implementation at SPRL.
Provid Pharmaceuticals Inc. offers medicinal chemistry and drug discovery services to the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry and pursues internal programs and academic collaborations that benefit from the company's expertise in peptide mimetics and drug design.
SPRL is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of drugs to treat cardiovascular and immunological diseases in a timely and cost effective manner using structure based drug design.
This press release contains forward-looking statements as defined by
the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 regarding Provid's
future activities and the potential for discovery of drug compounds, and
involve a high degree of material risks and uncertainties. Many possible
factors could affect future results and performance of Provid's research
and development activities, and ability to develop pharmaceuticals based
on the company's technology. If Provid's efforts fail to perform as expected,
or if any of a wide range of other risk factors are encountered and not
surmounted, the company's financial condition and operating results may
be materially and adversely effected
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