Healthcare Industry News:  NF-kB decoy 

Biopharmaceuticals Dermatology Licensing

 News Release - November 19, 2007

Meyer Pharmaceuticals Acquires NF-kappaB Decoy Technology for Treatment of Inflammatory Disease

IRVINE, Calif.--(HSMN NewsFeed)--Meyer Pharmaceuticals LLC announced today that it has obtained a license for a new drug technology for the treatment of inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and skin disease. The drug is a patented oligonucleotide (a small segment of DNA) that specifically blocks NF-kB, a transcription factor that activates pro-inflammatory genes. The technology is licensed from AnGes MG, Inc., a pharmaceutical company located in Osaka, Japan, and is currently in Phase II testing for the treatment of atopic dermatitis.

The agreement with AnGes gives Meyer Pharmaceuticals exclusive development and marketing rights for the NF-kB decoy in treating widespread diseases not adequately managed by current therapeutics. These include skin diseases like dermatitis, orthopedic diseases like arthritis, airway diseases like asthma, and inflammatory bowel disease. The licensed territory includes North America and Europe, with AnGes retaining co-promotion rights in the European Union. AnGes will continue to develop the NF-kB decoy for marketing in Japan.

“The NF-kB decoy is particularly attractive for treating inflammatory disease for several reasons,” said Tetsuya Gatanaga, Ph.D., Meyer’s Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer. “It is highly specific, like antibody molecules that are now standard therapy for arthritis. But the NF-kB decoy is a smaller drug, which means it is easier to administer and considerably less expensive. Another important feature is that it can be administered directly to the site of inflammation — such as the skin lesions in dermatitis, and symptomatic joints in rheumatoid arthritis. We have acquired a technology that will be the first in its class.”

The NF-kB decoy has undergone wide-ranging preclinical and clinical testing in Japan, with promising results. A Phase I trial in dermatitis patients confirmed safety of the oligonucleotide, with preliminary evidence of reduced symptoms and improvement of skin lesions. An investigator-sponsored trial in patients with rheumatoid arthritis provided preliminary evidence of decreased morning stiffness and improved range of motion. A Phase II efficacy trial in about 150 dermatitis patients completed enrollment this past July, with results expected in December.

Meyer Pharmaceuticals will initiate clinical testing of the NF-kB decoy in the U.S. at the Phase II level. The first indication will be dermatitis or psoriasis. At the same time, pharmaceutical formulation of the decoy will be finalized for later testing in asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.

Michael O’Neill, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Meyer Pharmaceuticals, expressed his pleasure at completing the deal. “Meyer is in the business of developing new approaches for treating inflammatory diseases, like dermatitis and rheumatoid arthritis. Our lead product is MP8, a TNF blocker for systemic administration. The NF-kB decoy complements our existing pipeline quite nicely. It specifically blocks several other factors that have a damaging effect, and we can administer it right to the site of the disease.”

Meyer Pharmaceuticals LLC engages in discovery research, provides pharmaceutical research services under the service mark Meyer Pharmaceuticals®, and develops pharmaceutical compositions for human clinical therapy. It was established in 1996 and has a broad portfolio of intellectual property covering therapeutics for both inflammatory disease and cancer. It is privately held and funded by Robert E. Meyer. The corporate group owned by Mr. Meyer has a diversified range of interests, including pharmaceuticals, investment banking, commercial real estate, and the Meyer Natural Angus® livestock business.

This news release contains forward-looking statements involving risks and uncertainties inherent in pharmaceutical research, clinical development, and intellectual property protection.

Source: Meyer Pharmaceuticals

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