October 28, 2008
Galenea and Organix Announce Exclusive License Agreement for 5-HT2C Agonists for the Treatment of Obesity
CAMBRIDGE and WOBURN, Mass., Oct. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Galenea Corp. today announced the signing of an agreement with Organix, Inc. and its academic collaborators that gives Galenea a license to 5-HT2C agonists for the treatment of obesity and other related disorders. The license grants Galenea the exclusive worldwide rights to develop, manufacture and commercialize the novel indole-based agonists.
The licensed compounds have demonstrated potent 5-HT2C receptor agonist activity, highly desirable selectivity against other serotonin receptor family members and significant reduction of food intake in animal models of obesity. Based on these characteristics, the companies are aiming to generate a best-in-class molecule for the safe and effective treatment of obesity.
Organix, a Woburn, MA based company that conducts organic chemistry research and development under contract, has been collaborating with researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. Under the auspices of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants from the National Institutes of Health, Howard P. Sard, PhD of Organix has designed and synthesized a novel class of molecules targeted toward the 5-HT2C receptor. A recognized leader in the field of brain and psychiatric disorders, Bryan L. Roth, MD, PhD, formerly of Case Western Reserve University and now Professor of Pharmacology at UNC and Director of the NIMH Psychoactive Drug Screening Program, has been responsible for the in vitro testing of the molecules. Louis Shuster, PhD, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at Tufts, led the Tufts scientific team that was responsible for the generation of pharmacology data and the demonstration of efficacy in in vivo models of obesity.
"This program is the result of a productive collaboration between our chemists and the biologists at UNC and Tufts and we look forward to Galenea's expertise in CNS drug discovery to drive these compounds to the clinic," said Peter Meltzer, PhD, President of Organix.
Under the terms of the agreement, Galenea will collaborate with Organix to identify development candidates and will be solely responsible for further development, manufacture and commercialization of the therapeutic products. The four licensors will receive an upfront payment and will be eligible for milestone payments and royalties on future product sales.
Mark Benjamin, Chief Executive Officer of Galenea said, "We are thrilled to have identified such a unique opportunity for Galenea. Licensing this program not only allows us to expand our pipeline by leveraging existing capabilities in medicinal chemistry and in vivo pharmacology but also to address a disease with such substantial unmet medical need."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the prevalence of obesity, defined as a Body Mass Index (BMI) of greater than 30 kg/m2, represents a significant health concern for the United States. By this criterion, almost one-third of adults in the US are considered obese and more than two-thirds are overweight. Obesity is fast approaching epidemic proportions in many other developed countries, with more than one billion adults now overweight and at least 300 million of them obese. Obesity increases the risk of other serious diseases and adverse health conditions including hypertension, stroke, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea and some cancers.
About Galenea Corp.
Galenea, an emerging biopharmaceutical company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is dedicated to enhancing and saving lives through the discovery of novel therapies for CNS diseases. Galenea has licensed technologies developed in the laboratories of Professor Susumu Tonegawa of MIT and Professor Maria Karayiorgou of Columbia University Medical Center (formerly of The Rockefeller University) and based on the calcineurin pathway and its role in schizophrenia pathogenesis. Based on these discoveries, Galenea established a multi-year R&D collaboration with Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. to generate breakthrough treatments for the memory and cognition impairments associated with schizophrenia and related disorders. In addition to the partnership with Otsuka, Galenea has a program to develop a selective 5-HT2C agonist for the treatment of obesity. For more information about Galenea, please visit the company's website at http://www.galenea.com/.
About Organix, Inc.
Organix, a Massachusetts based corporation established in 1986, conducts research and development under contract in organic and medicinal chemistry. The company is located about thirty minutes from downtown Boston and Logan International airport. For more information about Organix, please visit the company's website at http://www.organixinc.com/.
CONTACT: Michael D. Rivard, Head of Corporate Development of GaleneaCorp., +1-617-374-1010, ext. 2305, [email protected]; or Peter Meltzer, PhD,President of Organix Inc., +1-781-932-4142, [email protected]
Web site: http://www.galenea.com/http://www.organixinc.com/