Healthcare Industry News:  head and neck cancer 

Biopharmaceuticals Licensing

 News Release - February 25, 2008

Marillion Pharmaceuticals and Cytokine PharmaSciences Announce License Agreement for Xerostomia Treatment

Marillion Acquires Exclusive Worldwide Rights to Pilocarpine Buccal Insert for Xerostomia and Sjogren's Syndrome from Cytokine PharmaSciences

MALVERN, Pa. & KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa.--(HSMN NewsFeed)--Marillion Pharmaceuticals Inc and Cytokine PharmaSciences Inc (CPSI) announced today that the two companies have entered into a license agreement granting Marillion exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize CPSI’s Pilobuc™ buccal insert for the treatment of xerostomia.

Xerostomia, meaning dry mouth, is characterized by the chronic loss of salivary gland function and has been associated with various autoimmune diseases (e.g. Sjögren's syndrome), treatment with numerous medications and radiotherapy for head and neck cancers. Xerostomia is a debilitating condition that may lead to difficulty speaking, swallowing and alteration in taste and is accompanied by halitosis and a significant increase in the incidence of oral infections, including candida and severe dental caries.

“The most common therapy for xerostomia is a tablet form of pilocarpine, which requires frequent oral dosing due to the short serum half-life of the active drug and causes dose limiting side effects in many patients,” commented Dr. Zahed Subhan, Chief Executive Officer, Marillion Pharmaceuticals. “Pilobuc is a novel, proprietary, buccal formulation of pilocarpine shown in clinical trials to effectively and conveniently deliver the drug with reduced side effects compared to other routes of administration. Pilobuc has the potential to be a significant product in the xerostomia market, currently estimated to be worth more than $350 million worldwide,” added Dr Subhan.

CPSI’s Pilobuc insert is based on a hydrogel polymer technology that delivers drugs to the buccal mucosa. The buccal insert allows controlled and sustained release over a period of several hours, relieving some of the problems associated with short term activities of many drugs. Also, absorption through the oral mucosa minimizes swallowing of the drug and thereby avoids many unpleasant side effects associated with absorption in the gut. Pilobuc allows for the sustained buccal delivery of pilocarpine while reducing the side effects associated with oral systemic treatments.

“We believe Marillion is a strong partner for Pilobuc based on the company’s extensive background and focus on oncology drug development,” commented Vidal de la Cruz, Ph.D, Vice President, Business Development, CPSI. “As Cytokine PharmaSciences continues to progress its pipeline of products in women’s health, inflammation and cancer, we will look for key strategic alliances, such as this licensing agreement with Marillion, to maximize the value of our clinical and preclinical stage assets.”

About Marillion Pharmaceuticals

Marillion Pharmaceuticals is an emerging clinical-stage pharmaceuticals company dedicated to the development and commercialization of novel therapeutics for the treatment of cancers and for supportive care in oncology. Marillion’s product pipeline includes MN-201, the first synthetic vitamin D5 receptor ligand to be advanced into clinical development for a variety of cancers including breast, prostate and colon cancers. Marillion was founded in 2005 following seed funding from BioAdvance. Series A funding was received from APIDC/Venture East. Visit for more information.

About Cytokine PharmaSciences

Cytokine PharmaSciences is a biopharmaceutical company located in King of Prussia (near Philadelphia), Pennsylvania. The company developed and manufactures Cervidil®/Propess®, used in the obstetrics field for cervical ripening in the induction of labor. CPSI is focused on the use of polymers for the delivery of drugs to the vagina or buccal cavity, as well as the development of novel targets and therapeutic agents for the treatment of inflammation, autoimmune diseases and cancer. For more information, visit

Source: Marillion Pharmaceuticals

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