Lausanne, Switzerland, April 14, 2008 – Debiopharm Group (Debiopharm), a global independent biopharmaceutical development specialist in oncology and serious medical conditions, announced the signature of an option and license agreement with Airmid Inc. (Airmid), to develop an ShK peptide called Debio 0824, a highly specific Kv1.3 potassium channel blocker, currently in early preclinical development for the treatment of autoimmune diseases. Under the terms of the agreement, Debiopharm will pay Airmid an option fee for signature of the contract. If Debiopharm exercises its exclusive option to license-in the product for further development and worldwide commercialisation, it will pay Airmid an up-front and milestones, as well as running royalties for the license.
In vitro data show that ShK peptides discovered by Airmid’s founders are potent and selective Kv1.3 inhibitors with a strong potential to treat autoimmune diseases. Preclinical data show that ShK peptides suppress the activation and inhibit the proliferation of auto-reactive human and rat T effector memory cells at concentrations 20 to 80 times lower than the proliferation of naïve and central memory T cells. Moreover, ShK peptides significantly improve disease symptoms in animal models of several autoimmune disorders. This suggests that an ShK peptide might prove useful in the therapy of autoimmune disorders – in particular, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis – without significant impairment of the immune response.
About Debiopharm Group
Debiopharm Group is a global biopharmaceutical development specialist that in-licenses promising biologics and small molecule drug candidates. Debiopharm develops its products for global registration and maximum commercial potential for out-licensing to pharmaceutical partners for sales and marketing.
Debiopharm independently funds the worldwide development of all of its products while providing expertise in pre-clinical and clinical trials, manufacturing, drug delivery and formulation, and regulatory affairs.
Founded in 1979 and headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland, Debiopharm has developed three products with global combined sales in excess of $2.65 billion in 2007.
For more information on Debiopharm Group, please visit: www.debiopharm.com.
Airmid is a virtual pharmaceutical start-up focused on developing and commercialising novel, safer, more effective treatments for all autoimmune disorders. Airmid’s preclinical drug candidates include both peptide and small molecule inhibitors of the potassium channel protein, Kv1.3, which is highly expressed in auto-reactive T lymphocytes.