Mercator Therapeutics and Pepscan Therapeutics Establish Research and Licensing Collaboration

January 3, 2011

WALTHAM, Massachusetts and LELYSTAD, The Netherlands, January 3, 2011
/PRNewswire/ — Mercator Therapeutics, the first biopharmaceutical company to
systematically use in vivo phage display technology to develop novel cancer
drugs and Pepscan Therapeutics, a world leader in protein mimicry
technologies for improved therapeutic peptides and anti-GPCR antibodies,
today announced a multi-program research collaboration. The companies will
collaborate to optimize Mercator’s ‘Homing Peptides’ using Pepscan’s
proprietary CLIPS technology.

Mercator’s Homing Peptides are discovered through a unique in vivo
screening process, including screening in consenting end-stage cancer
patients. These peptides have been demonstrated in vivo to bind to receptors
that are highly expressed on human tumors and induce internalization of both
the peptide and the receptor. Pepscan’s CLIPS technology will be applied to
improve the potency and stability of peptides by locking the peptides into
the biologically active conformation.

Dr. Roy Lobb, Chairman & CSO of Mercator, commented, “Pepscan’s approach
to peptide optimization is unique, systematic, fast, and efficient, and it
provides Mercator with an opportunity to rapidly move its peptide-drug
conjugates (PDCs) into development.”

Under the terms of the Research and License Agreement between Mercator
and Pepscan, Pepscan will increase the potency and stability of Mercator’s
Homing Peptides and license to Mercator the associated intellectual property
rights. Mercator will pay Pepscan undisclosed research funding, milestones,
and royalties in connection with the development of optimized Homing Peptides
and the development and commercialization of PDC products that couple
optimized Homing Peptides with tumor-killing payloads.

“Mercator is in a unique position to make a big difference in cancer
treatment,” said Dr. Wim Mol, CEO of Pepscan. “The Pepscan team is excited to
work with Mercator on designing and building optimized targeting moieties for
Mercator’s PDCs. We see the promise of Mercator’s technology, and we are
pleased to help Mercator achieve that promise.”

About Mercator Therapeutics, Inc.

Mercator Therapeutics is the first biopharmaceutical company to use in
vivo phage display technology systematically to develop novel cancer drugs.
Mercator was founded to translate the research of Drs. Wadih Arap and Renata
into effective cancer therapeutics. Drs. Arap and Pasqualini
pioneered the use of in vivo phage display to identify peptides that are
believed to selectively deliver tumor-killing payloads without damaging
surrounding tissue. Targeting of drugs selectively to tumors in man has been
a goal of basic and translational research for decades. The Arap-Pasqualini
Lab is addressing this problem by directly injecting peptide-expressing phage
libraries in vivo – most recently in end-stage cancer patients under strict
ethical guidelines – and identifying a suite of peptides responsible for
tumor targeting. Mercator has exclusive rights to translate this research
into novel cancer therapeutics. Mercator is located in Waltham,
. Contact Chris Guiffre at chris.guiffre@mercatortx.com for
further information while Mercator’s website is under construction.

About Pepscan Therapeutics

Pepscan Therapeutics is a privately held company based in Lelystad, The
. Pepscan is using its proprietary high throughput CLIPS protein
mimicking technology for the development of novel constrained therapeutic
peptides and immunogens.

CLIPS (Chemical LInkage of Peptides onto Scaffolds) is a technology to
present one or more peptides in a structurally constrained configuration.
These molecules behave as functional mimics of complex protein domains.
Besides its pipeline of proprietary anti-GPCR monoclonal antibody products,
Pepscan has various ongoing collaborations with leading pharmaceutical and
biotech companies to develop novel therapeutics based on the proprietary
CLIPS technology.


SOURCE Pepscan Therapeutics BV

Source: newswire

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