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Debiopharm Group Grants an Exclusive Licence for the Development, Manufacture and Commercialisation of Debio 025

February 9, 2010

LAUSANNE, Switzerland, February 9 /PRNewswire/ — Debiopharm Group
(Debiopharm), a Swiss-based global biopharmaceutical group of companies with
a focus on the development of prescription drugs that target unmet medical
needs, today announced the signature of an exclusive licence agreement with
Novartis for the development, manufacture and commercialisation of Debio 025
(alisporivir), a selective, first-in-class cyclophilin (Cyp) inhibitor with a
potent anti-hepatitis C virus (HCV) effect. The product is currently in phase
2b clinical development for the treatment of hepatitis C. Debiopharm granted
Novartis worldwide commercialisation rights to Debio 025 except for Japan.

Under the terms of the agreement, Novartis will pay Debiopharm an
upfront, development and sales milestones as well as royalties. This
transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals.

According to the World Health Organization 170 million people suffer from
HCV in the world. “Sadly only 20% of those patients are treated adequately,”
said Rolland-Yves Mauvernay, President and Founder of Debiopharm Group. “At
Debiopharm, we have a strong commitment to providing HCV sufferers with an
efficacious cure and are confident about the potential of an innovative,
first-in-class compound such as Debio 025, which may represent a breakthrough
in the treatment of Hepatitis C. We are very happy to be working alongside
Novartis, a partner with a strong dedication to HCV.”

About Debio 025

Debio 025 is an oligopeptide that has some chemical features in common
with cyclosporine A, but is devoid of its immunosuppressive pharmacological
effects. It has a very potent inhibitory effect on HCV replication both in
vitro and in vivo. Debio 025 has excellent antiviral activity against a broad
range of genotypes (1, 2, 3 and 4); a high barrier to the development of
resistance; and the possibility for once daily dosing. It is expected to have
a superior safety and efficacy profile to standard of care, and to be
efficacious in patients not responding to the standard treatment.

Its potent inhibitory activity on the HCV replication was shown in the
following clinical studies. Results of a phase Ib study demonstrate that
Debio 025 monotherapy for 15 days induced a strong anti-HCV effect (3.6 log10
reduction) in HIV-1/HCV co-infected patients (Hepatology, 47:817-26). Results
of a phase IIa study with Debio 025 indicate that Debio 025 shows an
important additive anti-HCV effect (4.6 log10 reduction) when co-administered
with peg-IFN-alpha-2a for four weeks to treatment-naive HCV patients
(Hepatology, 2009 May;49(5):1460-8).

About HCV

HCV, in combination with hepatitis B, now accounts for 75% of all cases
of liver disease around the world. HCV is considered by the World Health
Organization as an epidemic. Because HCV can infect a patient for decades
before being discovered, it is often called the “silent” epidemic. Studies
suggest that in the US alone, nearly 4 million people are or have been
infected with HCV and of these, 2.7 million have an ongoing chronic
infection, the majority being between 40 to 60 years old.

About Debiopharm Group

Debiopharm Group is a Swiss-based global biopharmaceutical group of
companies with a focus on the development of prescription drugs that target
unmet medical needs. The group in-licenses and co-develops promising
biological and small molecule drug candidates having reached clinical
development phases I, II or III. It develops its products for global
registration and maximum commercial potential. The products are out-licensed
to pharmaceutical partners for sales and marketing.

Debiopharm independently funds the worldwide development of all of its
products while providing expertise in pre-clinical and clinical trials,
manufacturing, drug delivery and formulation, and regulatory affairs.

Founded in 1979 and headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland, Debiopharm
has developed four products with global combined sales of $2.6 billion in
2008.

For more information on Debiopharm Group, please visit:
http://www.debiopharm.com

    Debiopharm S.A. Contact
    Maurice Wagner
    Director Corporate Affairs & communication
    Tel.: +41-(0)21-321-01-11
    Fax:  +41-(0)21-321-01-69
    mwagner@debiopharm.com

    Additional Media Contacts

    In London
    Maitland
    Brian Hudspith
    Tel: +44-(0)20-7379-5151
    bhudspith@maitland.co.uk

    In New York
    Russo Partners, LLC
    Martina Schwarzkopf, Ph.D.
    Account Executive
    Tel: +1-212-845-4292
    Fax: +1-212-845-4260
    martina.schwarzkopf@russopartnersllc.com

SOURCE Debiopharm Group


Source: newswire



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