MediGene Exercises Option for Anti-L1 Monoclonal Antibody and Continues Collaboration With DKFZ (German Cancer Research Center)
MARTINSRIED/ MUNICH, Germany, July 17, 2008 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) — MediGene AG (Frankfurt:MDG) announced that, according to plan, an option, granted two years ago by the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum = DKFZ) in Heidelberg for the development and commercialization of an antibody for the treatment of different types of cancer, including ovarian cancer, will now be exercised by MediGene. MediGene therefore acquires an exclusive worldwide license for the application and commercialization of Anti L1 antibodies in anti-tumor therapy. In June 2006, MediGene and the DKFZ initiated this collaboration for the purpose of the therapeutic development of monoclonal antibodies against the tumor marker L1. The initial duration of the agreement was two years and it will now be extended. Concurrently with exercising the option for the license, an agreement that was initiated end of 2007 for the co-development and commercialization of the anti-L1 monoclonal antibody with Celltrion, Inc., a South Korean biopharmaceutical company which provides CMO (contract manufacturing organization) services, is now finalized. The L1-antibody is currently in the preclinical phase of development.
Professor Altevogt’s research team at the DKFZ developed the antibodies against L1 and demonstrated their anti-tumor activities in an animal model. Within the scope of the two year collaboration, the antibodies’ mode of action was examined in detail and preparation for further clinical testing was conducted.
Also under the terms of the agreement between Medigene and Celltrion, the companies will share responsibilities for development and commercialization of the L1 MAb. Celltrion will provide process development and manufacturing of the product, and will have exclusive rights for development and commercialization of the L1 MAb in Asia, including Japan. Celltrion will also have the option for global manufacturing rights to supply Phase III material as well as commercial material. MediGene retains the rights for the development and commercialization of the product in Europe and the US.
About L1: The L1 protein is highly specific to cell surfaces of malignant ovarian and endometrial tumors (ovarian and endometrial cancer) can also be found on surfaces of a number of chemotherapy-resistant tumors from various origins. It is not, however, found in the respective healthy tissue. For this reason, this protein is especially suited as a new tumor marker in diagnostics and therapy.
Dr. Peter Heinrich, Chief Executive Officer of MediGene AG, comments: “During the two year collaboration with the DKFZ we successfully advanced the development of this very promising technology. By exercising this option we see the opportunity for us to add another attractive oncological drug candidate to our development pipeline. We plan to develop and commercialize the antibody, together with the DKFZ and Celltrion, in various types of tumors, with ovarian cancer being the first indication. As a new marker, L1 provides us with the opportunity to significantly progress ovarian cancer therapy.”
This press release contains forward-looking statements representing the opinion of MediGene as of the date of this release. The actual results achieved by MediGene may differ significantly from the statements made herein. MediGene is not bound to update any of these forward-looking statements. MediGeneO is a trademark of MediGene AG, this trademark is licensed in select locations only.
MediGene AG is a publicly quoted (Frankfurt:MDG) biotechnology company located in Martinsried/Munich, Germany, with subsidiaries in Oxford, UK and San Diego, USA. MediGene is the first German biotech company to have drugs on the market, which are being distributed by partner companies. Another drug candidate has just received official recommendation for marketing authorization by the EMEA. MediGene has several drug candidates in clinical development. Moreover, the company has projects in research and pre-clinical development and possesses innovative platform technologies. MediGene concentrates on researching and developing novel drugs for the treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases.
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