Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Novosom AG Acquires Exclusive Option for CD40-Targeted Antisense Inhibitors From Isis Pharmaceuticals

Apr 11 2007, 12:08 AM EST


HALLE, Germany, April 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Novosom AG today announced that it has purchased an exclusive option from Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. that, if exercised within six months, enables it to acquire an exclusive, worldwide license to antisense inhibitors targeting the CD40 membrane protein for all indications. CD40 is a validated target for both inflammatory diseases and B-cell cancers and Novosom plans to target CD40 for indications such as Crohn's disease, transplant, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer and multiple sclerosis. If acquired, the license from Isis would include rights to the target and to oligonucleotides targeting CD40 and incorporating Isis' second generation antisense chemistry, 2' MOE oligonucleotides in exchange for financial considerations including an upfront exercise fee, milestone payments and royalties.

Novosom is using its proprietary Smarticles(R) technology to enable systemic delivery of antisense targeting CD40. This encapsulated antisense approach has demonstrated targeted delivery to specific cell types with a rapid onset of action and greater in vivo efficacy than the anti-inflammatory blockbuster Remicade.

Elias Papatheodorou, CEO of Novosom AG, commented:
"We are very happy to have reached an agreement with the industry leader in oligonucleotide therapeutics for Novosom's first proprietary therapeutic program. We feel that of the current oligo-based technologies, Isis' antisense 2' MOE chemistry offers the most commercially mature option. We plan to further extend our pipeline with antisense and siRNA programs while taking advantage of the targeted properties of our Smarticles(R) technology in oncology and inflammation."

"Novosom is pioneering new formulation chemistries to improve systemic delivery of RNA-based drugs, a powerful new class of therapeutics," said Dr. Frank Bennett, Isis Senior Vice President of Research. "This agreement underscores how Isis is leveraging its IP to form productive outlicensing partnerships. We look forward to collaborating further with Novosom on the development of a CD40 antisense oligonucleotide."

Dr. Steffen Panzner, Founder and CSO of Novosom AG, commented:

"We have chosen CD40 because it is a key molecule in the development of autoimmune and oncology indications and a license from Isis will give us the freedom to develop novel therapeutics based on their 2' MOE antisense agents. CD40 further adds to a growing list of therapeutic projects where our Smarticles(R) technology is used to enable the delivery of oligonucleotide therapeutics. The preclinical studies we have already conducted support a very favorable safety profile and our ability to transfect selected cell types at the site of disease with high specificity."

About Novosom
Novosom is working with its partners to develop unique antisense and siRNA based therapeutics with a current focus in inflammation, oncology and liver diseases. Novosom's Smarticles(R) liposomal vectors allow partners to deliver their active substance (siRNA, antisense, decoy etc) inside the cell either for topical or systemic applications. Smarticles are an enabler of systemic treatments and an enhancer of topical treatments. The Company has several active therapeutically-relevant collaborations in oncology and inflammation. Novosom AG main investors include IBG Beteiligungsgesellschaft Sachsen-Anhalt mbH and MBG Mittelstandische Beteiligungs-gesellschaft Sachsen Anhalt.

Notes to editors:

About CD40
CD40 is a membrane protein that is expressed on the antigen presenting cells (APCs) and facilitates integration of feedback signals from T cells via CD154 and danger signals from Toll-like receptors sitting on the APCs. Such signal integration is key to refine the antigen presentation and results in a straightforward immune response.

Novosom's Smarticles(R) / CD40 antisense combination has achieved targeted delivery that is specific to APCs.

In addition, CD40 provides critical signals for B cell proliferation meaning that Novosom researchers foresee an applicability in B cell cancers.