More MS news articles for July 2001

Curis Forms Business Venture With Elan to Develop Hedgehog Therapeutics for the Treatment of Neurological Disorders

July 18, 2001  4:27pm
Source: Business Wire

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Jul 18, 2001 (BW HealthWire) -- Curis, Inc. (NASDAQ: CRIS) today announced that it has formed a joint venture with Elan Corporation, Plc ("Elan") that is committed to the research and development of molecules that stimulate the hedgehog (Hh) signaling pathway. This pathway had previously been shown to play a role in the development of the central and peripheral nervous systems. Curis scientists and collaborators have shown that in the adult, hedgehog is responsible for inducing the repair and regeneration of nerve tissues following injury, trauma or disease. The business venture will focus upon the development of therapeutics targeting a number of neurological disorders. In addition to providing clinical expertise and support for the program, Elan will grant the business venture a non-exclusive license to an important animal model, a mouse strain that develops many of the features of human neurodegenerative diseases.

Under the terms of the licensing agreement, the two companies will each contribute intellectual property to the joint venture. Curis initially will be the majority owner of the joint venture.

"Our scientists have found that stimulating the Hh pathway can have profound and unique effects on cells in the nervous system undergoing degeneration in different diseases, including Diabetic Neuropathy and Parkinson's Disease," stated Dr. Lee Rubin, Ph.D., Senior Vice-President of Research and Chief Scientific Officer of Curis. "We have discovered agents, both protein and small molecules, that potently activate this pathway. We are extremely excited to be working with Elan, a company experienced in neurological disorders, to bring these molecules to the clinic."

Ivan Lieberburg, Ph.D., M.D., Elan's Chief Scientific and Medical Officer stated that, "Elan's partnering strategy gives us the opportunity to leverage very important technology with leaders in their respective fields. I am particularly excited about entering into this important collaboration with Curis. Curis is clearly the world leader in Hedgehog technology, and there is now growing evidence that Hedgehog agonists could have broad reaching applications in a variety of neurological disorders that are extremely important to Elan, including Parkinson's disease, neuropathy, pain, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer's disease."

"The business venture with Elan demonstrates the value of Curis' strong position in the exploitation of developmental pathways in tissue regeneration," said Dr. Doros Platika, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Curis. "We have identified growth factors and small molecules that have broad applications in many disease areas. This joint venture structure allows Curis to secure the resources for the development of its extensive pipeline while at the same time allowing it to retain a significant portion of the value creation."

Curis is developing products based on technologies in the emerging field of regenerative medicine. The Company is combining insights gained through the study of developmental biology with high-throughput screening capabilities, proteins, cells and biocompatible materials to facilitate the development of new regenerative medicine therapies. For more information, please visit the Curis web site at WWW.CURIS.COM.

The statements in this news release that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties including, without limitation, risks associated with the inherent uncertainty of pharmaceutical research, product development, regulatory approval and commercialization, status of human clinical trials, the impact of competitive products, patents, patent litigation, product liability, third party reimbursement, corporate collaborations, and other risks and uncertainties associated with the biotechnology industry. For additional factors that could cause actual results to differ materially, please refer to the risk factors section of the Curis Annual Report on Form 10-k for the year ended December 31, 2000 with the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 30,2001.

CONTACT:    Curis, Inc.
                  Henry W. McCusker, (617) 503-6641
                  Curis, Inc.
                  Daniel Passeri, (617) 503-6680
                  Noonan/Russo Communications
                  Renee Connolly, 212-696-4455 x227
                  Noonan/Russo Communications
                  Sharon Weinstein, 212-696-4455 x334

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