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Panacea Pharmaceuticals, Inc. And SRL, Inc. Of Tokyo, Japan Announce Agreements To Develop And Commercialize HAAH Based Cancer Diagnostic Tests In Japan


10/19/2005 5:09:33 PM

GAITHERSBURG, Md., Dec. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Panacea Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced today that it has signed a License & Service Agreement with SRL, Inc. (http://www.srl-group.co.jp/) of Tokyo, Japan to develop and commercialize cancer diagnostic tests in Japan. The tests will be based on Panacea's HAAH Oncology Program, which targets the enzyme human aspartyl (asparaginyl) Beta- hydroxylase or HAAH.

SRL is the largest reference laboratory services organization in Japan, having over 2,500 employees and 4,000 items on their test menu.

"We are delighted to be working with SRL and to begin the commercialization of HAAH-based tests in Japan," stated Kasra Ghanbari, President of the Company. "SRL's technical expertise, market share, and dedication to quality service and products provide an ideal partner for the commercialization of HAAH diagnostics in Japan."

The non-exclusive license in Japan will allow SRL to commercialize HAAH- based tests using immunohistochemistry (IHC), immunocytochemistry (ICC), fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH), enzyme linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA), and quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR).

Panacea has received an up-front payment, will receive milestone payments for the development and Japan Health Authority regulatory approval of a HAAH serum immunoassay, and will receive a royalty payment on all sales. Panacea will also provide technical support and key reagents under the service provision of the agreement.

"The HAAH-based cancer serum test is expected to become a single universal diagnostic test to detect early stage tumor presence regardless of tumor bearing organs," told Dr. Kazumasa Hikiji, Chief Technology Officer of SRL. "By subsequent diagnostic tests utilizing HAAH and other organ specific tumor markers as well as imaging procedures, medical doctors may be able to diagnose cancers in their curable stage."

Background on HAAH Oncology Program

The Company's HAAH Oncology Program is based on the enzyme human aspartyl (asparaginyl) Beta-hydroxylase (HAAH).

HAAH over-expression has been detected in primary tumor tissue of all eighteen tumor types tested to date, including cancers of the pancreas, breast, ovary, liver, colon, prostate, lung, brain, and bile duct. HAAH over- expression has been detected in 99% of tumor specimens (greater than 1000) tested to date and has not been detected in normal or adjacent non-affected tissue.

Recent findings in preclinical studies have indicated that over-expression of HAAH is sufficient to induce cellular transformation, to increase cell motility and invasiveness, and to establish tumor formation in animals. Even partial inhibition of HAAH expression has been shown to have a beneficial effect on tumor cells, causing them to revert to a more normal phenotype as measured by the inhibition of growth, motility, and invasiveness. HAAH is over-expressed on the surface of cancer cells, potentially facilitating detection, drug delivery, and enzyme inhibition.

Panacea signed a Collaboration and License Agreement with MedImmune, Inc. in early 2002 to discover, develop, and commercialize therapeutic agents for the prevention or treatment of human disease based on Panacea's HAAH technology or its pathways. Panacea has retained all rights to the development of diagnostic products based on HAAH.

About Panacea Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Panacea Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is an emerging biopharmaceutical company focused on utilizing functional genomics and proteomics to develop therapeutics and diagnostics for diseases with substantial unmet clinical need. The Company's product development focus is on novel proteins and biochemical pathways related to cellular regulation and cell cycle abnormalities in oncology as well as both acute and chronic neurodegenerative conditions such as hypoxia-induced cognitive impairment, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer's disease. The Company's wholly-owned subsidiary, Proteus Diagnostics, Inc., will be developing in vitro diagnostics including pharmacogenomic and pharmacoproteomic tools for cancer detection, diagnosis, prognosis, treatment selection, and follow-up.

More information is available at http://www.panaceapharma.com/ and http://www.proteusdx.com/.

Except for historical information presented in this press release, matters discussed herein may constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward- looking statements are based on the opinions and estimates of management only as of the date of this release and are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from any future results, performance, or achievements expressed or implied by such statements. Factors that might cause such a difference include, but are not limited to, uncertainties related to our access to capital, the progress, costs, and results of any clinical trials undertaken by us, progress of our research and development projects, and uncertainties related to whether our product candidates would ultimately achieve commercial success. We do not undertake any obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise unless required by law.

Contact: Panacea Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Kasra Ghanbari, President Phone 240-243-8000 x108; FAX 240-465-0450 Kasra@PanaceaPharma.com

Panacea Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

CONTACT: Kasra Ghanbari, President of Panacea Pharmaceuticals, Inc.,+1-240-243-8000, ext. 108; fax, +1-240-465-0450, or Kasra@PanaceaPharma.com


Read at BioSpace.com


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