MUNICH, Germany I September 2, 2013 I WILEX AG (ISIN DE0006614720 / WL6 / FSE) today announced that its subsidiary Heidelberg Pharma GmbH, Ladenburg, Germany, signed a license agreement with Roche (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY) covering the development of a novel class of antibody drug conjugates (ADCs) based on Heidelberg Pharma's patented technology to couple α-Amanitin to antibodies. The license agreement covers initial joint research to apply this technology to multiple Roche antibodies towards the identification of development candidates with favourable efficacy/safety profiles.
Heidelberg Pharma will receive regular payments for granting access to its technology and providing research services. Roche will subsequently have the opportunity to exercise options for licenses to develop and market selectedAntibody Targeted Amanitin Conjugates (ATACs). Heidelberg Pharma will manufacture these substances and receive customary upfront payments, milestone payments and royalties for each development candidate selected by Roche.
α-Amanitin is a bicyclic peptide naturally occurring in the green Death Cap mushroom. It potently inhibits the biosynthesis of RNA, a mechanism which is critical for the survival of cells. Accordingly, ATACs exhibit comparable activity against proliferating and resting tumour cells. This proliferation independent activity differentiates ATACs from other ADCs, which preferentially target proliferating tumour cells. As an additional advantage ATACs could offer a substantial capability to overcome the resistance mechanisms which might limit the efficacy of other antibody drug conjugates. The ATACs tested so far have shown strong anti-tumour activity in several preclinical tumour models.
Dr Jan Schmidt-Brand, Managing Director of Heidelberg Pharma GmbH and Chief Financial Officer of WILEX AG, commented: "We are delighted about the opportunity to collaborate with a company as renowned as Roche. This cooperation is an important external validation of our technology. We will use this cooperation to jointly explore and technically expand the applicability of our technology to selected antibodies."
Dr Klaus Bosslet, heading Roche Discovery Oncology in Penzberg, Germany, added: "We look forward to collaborating with Heidelberg Pharma to elect and develop the most promising ATACs. Ultimately, these ATACs may provide novel treatment options for cancer patients, whose tumours do not respond to available cancer therapeutics."
About Heidelberg Pharma
Heidelberg Pharma GmbH is a wholly owned subsidiary of WILEX AG and is located in Ladenburg, Germany. The Company offers services for the pre-clinical drug discovery and development including explorative pharmacology, drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics (DMPK) analysis and molecular biology in oncology or inflammatory/autoimmune diseases. The services are dedicated to a high grade of flexibility, efficient realisation and high quality. Heidelberg Pharma's R&D flagship is its proprietary 2nd generation ADC technology platform (ATAC) for more effective anti-cancer drugs.
WILEX AG is a biopharmaceutical company based in Munich, Germany. Focused on oncology, the Company develops diagnostic and therapeutic product candidates for the specific detection and targeted treatment of various types of cancer. In the field of therapeutics, WILEX develops antibodies and small molecules. (RENCAREX®: Phase III, MESUPRON®: Phase II, WX-554: Phase Ib/II and WX-037: Phase I). In the field of diagnostics, REDECTANE® is an antibody-based imaging agent that is currently in a Phase III programme. The Company also has a portfolio of biomarker assays that are marketed via its US subsidiary WILEX Inc. under the brand Oncogene Science. WILEX's subsidiary Heidelberg Pharma GmbH offers preclinical contract research services and a highly promising antibody drug conjugate (ADC) technology platform. The business model of WILEX comprises research and product development as well as the commercialisation of its activities. WILEX's customers and partners include leading international pharmaceutical companies. Website: http://www.WILEX.com, ISIN DE0006614720 / WKN 661472 / Symbol WL6.