EPIX Pharmaceuticals Achieves Milestone From Collaboration With Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics
EPIX Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:EPIX), a biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing novel therapeutics through the use of its proprietary and highly efficient in silico drug discovery platform, today announced that it has achieved another milestone in its collaboration with Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics, Inc. (CFFT), the nonprofit affiliate of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. As a result, EPIX will receive $500,000 from CFFT, bringing the total amount of milestone payments achieved under this collaboration to $4.5 million. The milestone payment is part of a research, development and commercialization agreement between EPIX and CFFT that focuses on discovering potential drug therapies targeting the Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane conductance Regulator (CFTR) ion channel. Under the terms of the agreement, EPIX will own all worldwide rights to any compound that results from this collaboration. In April 2008, CFFT and EPIX expanded the potential value of their collaboration to more than $50 million.
EPIX has made a significant breakthrough in identifying two structural classes of dual-acting compounds. These compounds act as both potentiators and correctors that target the delta F508 mutation of the CFTR, the most common mutation of the key protein associated with cystic fibrosis. The identification of these compounds resulted from EPIX’s highly efficient discovery platform which integrates proprietary in silico modeling techniques with hypothesis-driven approaches for the design and synthesis of compounds.
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a life-threatening genetic disease that affects approximately 30,000 children and adults in the United States and nearly 70,000 people worldwide. It causes life-threatening lung infections and serious digestive complications. A mutation in the CFTR gene is one of the key factors that ultimately leads to the symptoms, complications and premature mortality in people with CF.
“We have made tremendous progress in our collaboration with CFFT, and we believe the identification of these compounds marks the first time that compounds have been identified that may possibly act as both potentiators and correctors of the delta F508 mutation, the most common mutation in CF patients,” said Elkan Gamzu, Ph.D., interim chief executive officer of EPIX. “Through the use of our in silico screening approach, we have successfully identified and characterized these two classes of new compounds to move forward into lead optimization and potentially into clinical development.”
“This is an exciting development in the field of cystic fibrosis and underscores the scientific advances we have made over the past two years during our collaboration with EPIX,” added Robert J. Beall, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. “EPIX has taken a unique approach using structure-based technologies to identify molecules that may correct the faulty protein in CF – and potentially create new therapies to improve the lives of patients suffering from CF.”
About the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the leading organization focused on curing and controlling cystic fibrosis, has invested nearly $300 million in drug research with biotech companies since 1998 to develop therapies to fight CF. As a result, the Foundation has built a drug pipeline with more than 30 promising therapies in development. Virtually all of the approved cystic fibrosis therapies available today were made possible because of the support of the Foundation. Based in Bethesda, Md., the Foundation has 80 chapters and branch offices and supports and accredits a nationwide network of 115 CF care centers that provide treatment and vital resources to patients and families. For more information, visit www.cff.org.
EPIX Pharmaceuticals is a biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing novel therapeutics through the use of its proprietary and highly efficient in silico drug discovery platform. The company has a pipeline of internally-discovered drug candidates currently in clinical development to treat diseases of the central nervous system and lung conditions. EPIX also has collaborations with leading organizations, including GlaxoSmithKline, Amgen and Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics. For more information, please visit the company’s website at www.epixpharma.com.
This news release contains express or implied forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that are based on current expectations of management. These statements relate to, among other things, our expectations regarding our drug discovery efforts, the future development of our in-silico methodologies and the benefits of our collaboration with Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics, Inc. These statements are neither promises nor guarantees, but are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond our control, and which could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in these forward-looking statements. In particular, the risks and uncertainties include, among other things: risks that product candidates may fail in the clinic or may not be successfully marketed or manufactured; risks relating to our ability to advance the development of product candidates currently in the pipeline or in clinical trials; failure to obtain the financial resources to complete development of product candidates; our inability to further identify, develop and achieve commercial success for new products and technologies; our inability to achieve commercial success for our products and technologies; our failure to comply with regulations relating to our products and product candidates, including FDA requirements; the risk that the FDA may interpret the results of our studies differently than we have; and risks of new, changing and competitive technologies and regulations in the U.S. and internationally. Existing and prospective investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof. We undertake no obligation to update or revise the information contained in this press release, whether as a result of new information, future events or circumstances or otherwise. For additional information regarding these and other risks that we face, see the disclosure contained in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K.