Quark Pharmaceuticals and Major Pharmaceutical Company Enter into Licensing Option Agreement for the p53 Suppressor Drug QPI-1002, the First siRNA Administered Systemically in Human
FREMONT, Calif., Aug 18, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Quark Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a world leader in the discovery and development of RNAi-based therapeutics, today announced that it has granted Novartis an option to obtain an exclusive worldwide license to develop and commercialize its p53 temporary inhibitor siRNA drug QPI-1002, currently the subject of a Phase II clinical trial.
Quark will receive initially a non-refundable fee of 10 million USD. In the event that Novartis exercises the option, Quark would receive option exercise fees and milestone payments that could potentially total 670 million USD. In addition Quark would be entitled to potential royalties on sales of licensed products.
Dr. Daniel Zurr, Quark's Chief Executive Officer, stated, "We are very pleased to have reached this agreement with Novartis. We believe that Novartis represents an outstanding partner for Quark. With its world-leading expertise in transplantation and acute care Novartis will provide invaluable support to the global development of QPI-1002, in development for the prevention of acute kidney injury (AKI) in patients undergoing cardiac surgery and for delayed graft function (DGF) in kidney transplant patients. The gene target of QPI-1002, p53, is a major player in apoptotic cell death; its temporary suppression rescues cells, prevents them from dying in conditions of severe stress such as ischemia, potentially opening opportunities for Novartis to novel treatments in additional indications."
QPI-1002 is designed to temporarily inhibit expression of the stress-response gene, p53 and is the first synthetic siRNA to be administered systemically to humans. QPI-1002 is being developed for the prevention of acute kidney injury (AKI) in patients undergoing major cardiovascular surgery, and for the prophylaxis of delayed graft function (DGF) in patients receiving deceased donor kidney transplants. QPI 1002 completed Phase I studies in these patient populations and an independent Data Safety Monitoring Board recommended continuation of QPI-1002 clinical development in both diseases. QPI-1002 was granted Orphan designation by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for the prophylaxis of delayed graft function in kidney transplant patients.
About Quark Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Quark Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a world leader in novel RNAi discovery and development, has the largest clinical-stage siRNA pipeline in the industry. The Company's fully integrated drug development platform spans therapeutic target identification to drug development. Quark's approach to delivery allows targeting of tissues and organs including the eye, kidney, ear, lung, spinal cord and brain.
In addition to QPI-1002, Quark's pipeline includes PF-655, currently in two Phase II clinical trials for the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic macular edema (DME). The siRNA therapeutic candidate PF-655 is licensed to Pfizer, who is conducting both trials in collaboration with Quark. PF-655 targets Quark's proprietary gene, RTP801, discovered using its BiFAR(TM) target discovery platform that identifies clinically relevant critical genes and proteins that reverse the disease phenotype when inhibited. The Company owns a family of patents covering the RTP801 gene, its RNA and protein product sequences, specific antibodies, and gene inhibition across different pathologies. For the structure of these products, Quark has obtained licenses from Silence Therapeutics and from Alnylam Pharmaceuticals.
Quark is currently conducting clinical trials of QPI-1007, its proprietary synthetic siRNA drug candidate for ocular neuroprotection. QPI-1007 utilizes a proprietary structure developed in collaboration with BioSpring GmbH that provides Quark with freedom to operate in the siRNA intellectual property arena and chemical modifications that are designed to preserve RNAi activity while ameliorating potential off-target and immunostimulatory effects of siRNAs.
Quark is also committed to leveraging a broad research pipeline of siRNA drug candidates and novel siRNA structures to develop additional RNAi drug candidates.
Quark is headquartered in Fremont, California and operates research and development facilities in Boulder, Colorado and Ness-Ziona, Israel. Additional information is available at www.quarkpharma.com.