Abraxis BioScience and The Scripps Research Institute Enter Exclusive Licensing Agreement for the Worldwide Development and Commercialization of a Novel Epothilone Therapeutic for the Treatment of Cancer
LOS ANGELES -- Abraxis BioScience, an integrated, global biopharmaceutical company, and The Scripps Research Institute (TRSI), one of the world's largest independent, non-profit biomedical research organizations, today announced the organizations have entered an exclusive licensing agreement for the worldwide development and commercialization of a novel epothilone therapeutic for the treatment of cancer. Epothilones belong to a new class of microtubule-stabilizing agents, which bind to the tubulin pathway to inhibit the growth and proliferation of cancer cells. Under the terms of the agreement, Abraxis has rights to eleven potential drug candidates for pre-clinical evaluation and selection of a lead candidate for clinical development. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Abraxis will evaluate the therapeutic potential of TSRI's novel epothilones using its proprietary nab(TM) technology platform, which harnesses the unique natural properties of the human protein albumin to transport and deliver therapeutic agents to the site of disease. The nab platform eliminates the need for toxic solvents such as Cremophor ELÂ®, which are used with other epothilones in development to allow the administration of the anticancer agent into the bloodstream. Serious side effects have been associated with the use of solvents.
"We are excited to enter into this exclusive agreement with The Scripps Research Institute, which enables Abraxis to expand its rapidly growing oncology pipeline with the addition of a novel epothilone therapy," said Neil P. Desai, Ph.D., vice president of research and development at Abraxis BioScience. "Abraxis is committed to the development of progressive cancer therapeutics and we look forward to initiating studies to evaluate this new class of cancer agents with our nab(TM) platform."
"Our preliminary research suggests the epothilones targeted for development by Abraxis BioScience are some of the most potent agents in this new class of drugs," said K.C. Nicolaou, Ph.D., chair, department of chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute. "Abraxis has a strong track record in the development and commercialization of cancer therapeutics. We are excited about our collaboration, which will enable further study of these novel epothilone agents."
About the nab(TM) Technology Platform
Developed by Abraxis BioScience, the nab(TM) technology platform harnesses the unique natural properties of the human protein albumin to transport and deliver therapeutic agents to the site of disease. The binding of albumin to the anticancer agent creates nanometer-sized particles, which are approximately 100 nanometers or 1/100th the size of a single red blood cell. These nab particles are readily incorporated into the body's own transport processes and are able to exploit the tumors' attraction to albumin, enabling the delivery of higher concentrations of the active drug to the target site. This may lead to an increase in the drug's antitumor effect and the potential for an effective response. In addition, nab platform eliminates the need for chemical solvents in the administration process, thus potentially improving safety through the elimination of solvent-related side effects.
The first FDA approved product to use the nab platform, ABRAXANEÂ®, was launched in 2005 for the treatment of patients with metastatic breast cancer. Studies are ongoing to evaluate several other therapeutic candidates that employ the nab platform including nab-docetaxel (ABI-008), nab-rapamycin mTOR inhibitor (ABI 009), and nab-17AAG HSP90 inhibitor (ABI-010), among others.
About The Scripps Research Institute
The Scripps Research Institute is one of the world's largest independent, non-profit biomedical research organizations, at the forefront of basic biomedical science and chemistry that seeks to comprehend the most fundamental processes of life. Scripps Research is internationally recognized for its discoveries in immunology, molecular and cellular biology, chemistry, neurosciences, autoimmune, cardiovascular, and infectious diseases, and synthetic vaccine development. Established in its current configuration in 1961, it employs approximately 3,000 scientists, postdoctoral fellows, scientific and other technicians, doctoral degree graduate students, and administrative and technical support personnel. Scripps Research is headquartered in La Jolla, California. It also includes Scripps Florida, whose researchers focus on basic biomedical science, drug discovery, and technology development. Currently operating from temporary facilities in Jupiter, Scripps Florida will move to its permanent campus in 2009.
About Abraxis BioScience, Inc.
Abraxis BioScience, Inc. is an integrated global biopharmaceutical company dedicated to meeting the needs of critically ill patients. The company develops, manufactures and markets one of the broadest portfolios of injectable products and leverages revolutionary technology such as its nab(TM) platform to discover and deliver breakthrough therapeutics that transform the treatment of cancer and other life-threatening diseases. The first FDA approved product to use this nab platform, ABRAXANEÂ®, was launched in 2005 for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer. Abraxis trades on the Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol ABBI. For more information about the company and its products, please visit www.abraxisbio.com.
The statements contained in this press release that are not purely historical are forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Forward-looking statements in this press release include statements regarding our expectations, beliefs, hopes, goals, intentions, initiatives or strategies, including statements regarding the development of the licensed intellectual property rights. Because these forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, there are important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. The development of the licensed intellectual property portfolio could be affected by a number of factors, including unexpected safety, efficacy or manufacturing issues, additional time requirements for data analyses and decision making, the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation, the impact of competitive products and pricing and the impact of patents and other proprietary rights held by competitors and other third parties. Additional relevant information concerning risks can be found in Abraxis BioScience's Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2006 and other documents it has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
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