Lausanne, Switzerland, and Les Ulis, France, June 4, 2003 — Debiopharm S.A. (Debiopharm) and GenOdyssee S.A. (GenOdyssee) today announced a collaboration, whereby GenOdyssee grants Debiopharm the exclusive worldwide license to develop and commercialise a compound selected from a predefined portfolio of five candidates, in the therapeutic areas of oncology, oncology-associated side effects and virology from the GenOdyssee portfolio.
Under the terms of the agreement, Debiopharm will fund the entire development of the product, including manufacturing, pre-clinical, and clinical trials up to its registration, thus maximising its value for further out-licensing to a commercial partner. In addition, GenOdyssee will receive cash up front and a milestone payment from Debiopharm when the product enters into Phase III clinical trials, as well as a fair share of revenues from the licensing-out of the product to a commercial partner. Debiopharm has the first development rights for all other indications and sole manufacturing rights for the licensed molecule. Debiopharm also has the option to enter into a license agreement for a second molecule within a defined timeline at the same conditions. Should the selected molecules be abandoned under mutual agreement, Debiopharm has substitution rights.
GenOdyssee has selected a new path in biotherapeutics development. From a sample of 85% of the world population, GenOdyssee has put together a large portfolio of more than 80 proprietary relevant natural cytokine and growth factor variants. These variants have a potential application in numerous therapeutic areas, among others cancer, infectious diseases, virology, Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis. Debiopharm and GenOdyssee believe that these cytokine variants may help find new and better therapeutic targets or could improve significantly the efficacy of current treatments. Some of the candidates already discovered by GenOdyssee are variants of erythropoietin (EPO) and interferon α (IFN α).
“The natural cytokine variants have the potential of fewer side effects and greater efficacy,” said Dr. R.-Y. Mauvernay, founder and CEO of Debiopharm, “which would bring an important improvement to the currently marketed compounds. Moreover, Debio is a world leader in advanced oral and injectable drug delivery systems for proteins. By joining forces with GenOdyssee, and through the combination of our innovative technology platforms and their lead compounds, we can expect to bring important new drugs to market. This collaboration complements Debio’s other activities in the biotechnology sector, which is a strategic focus for our companies”.
In 2002, Debiopharm licensed-in a new oral technology (Debio Sphere®) to study the feasibility of developing an oral delivery of macromolecular drugs, normally administered parenterally. The company also intends to build a biotechnology manufacturing facility in Martigny, Switzerland, next to Debio R.P., its already existing FDA-inspected production site. This reflects the commitment of Debiopharm to the manufacture of proteins and its vision towards the future of healthcare.
“We look forward to working with Debiopharm,” said Jean-Louis Escary, Ph.D., Founder, President and CEO of GenOdyssee. “Their know-how in the field of drug development will add value to our products and bring them to the market. This will allow us to focus our efforts on other candidates in our portfolio”.
About Debiopharm S.A.
Debiopharm, Debio R.P. and Debioclinic are an established and proven group of three synergistic and complementary companies, that have a successful track record in developing, registering and ensuring that new molecular entities are brought to market both in Europe and in the United States. Products successfully registered and launched include oxaliplatin for advanced colorectal cancer and triptorelin pamoate for prostate cancer, both market leaders in their therapeutic areas. Specialized in oncology, hormonal and niche products for serious medical conditions, Debiopharm is a partner of research institutions, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies who seek to develop and register their drugs. Debio R.P., Debiopharm’s sister company, is a leading world player in the research, development and manufacturing of polymer-based controlled release injectable formulations for peptides and proteins, including proprietary technologies suitable for other therapeutic modalities such as soluble polymer cytotoxic-drug conjugates for parenteral administration. Debio R.P. also carries out scale-up under current good manufacturing practice (cGMP) and has an FDA-inspected plant. Debioclinic, the third Debio company, is a contract research organisation fully dedicated to clinical development.
For more information, please visit the company’s website at: www.debio.com
About GenOdyssee S.A.
GenOdyssee is a biotechnology company founded in 1999, aiming at discovering and developing therapeutic cytokines and growth factors with higher therapeutic indices than state-of-the art drugs of the industry. GenOdyssee achieves this by using an innovative discovery approach of functional SNPs. The company is looking for naturally occurring mutations in the population that confer break-through pharmacological advantages to the corresponding genes. GenOdyssee applied this pioneered genetic concept to genes coding for therapeutic proteins, natural drugs produced by the body, so that for any mutation with such positive pharmacological effect discovered in the population would correspond a clear and rapid product development rational. Three years later, a first pipeline of more than 80 lead candidates has been assembled by the company and first leads are planned to enter clinical development in 2004. GenOdyssee has filed a total of 32 patent applications in Europe, US, and Japan, protecting its innovative discovery method (3 families), and first lead candidates (11 families).
For more information, please visit the company’s website at: www.genodyssee.com.