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BioWa and NKT Therapeutics Inc. Announce Licensing of BioWa's POTELLIGENT(R) Technology For Use in Antibody Research and Development


10/21/2009 9:34:57 AM

PRINCETON, N.J. and WALTHAM, Mass., Oct. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- BioWa, Inc. (BioWa) and NKT Therapeutics, Inc. (NKTT), announced today that they have entered into an agreement which provides NKTT with access to BioWa's patented POTELLIGENT((R)) Technology platform for the development of antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) enhanced antibodies.

The agreement grants NKTT non-exclusive rights to research, develop, manufacture and commercialize antibodies targeting natural killer T (NKT) cells that incorporate BioWa technology. NKT cells are a rare but central component of the human immune system, which play a pivotal role in human health and disease. In return, BioWa will receive an upfront payment, development milestone payments and royalties on products. Other details of the agreement are not disclosed.

"We are excited that we have been able to partner with a small venture backed company like NKT Therapeutics. In large part, our decision to partner with NKTT was driven by our interest in NKTT's cell biology and exciting product programs," said Dr. Masamichi Koike, President and CEO of BioWa. "We were able to reach an arrangement that works for a small company like NKTT."

"We believe that the collaboration with BioWa, Inc. will accelerate our development activities in therapeutic antibodies targeting NKT cells, a field that is expected to be a potentially important source of new medicines to satisfy unmet medical needs," said Robert Mashal, M.D., President and CEO of NKTT. "We are pleased with BioWa's flexibility to adapt its normal business terms to make this collaboration possible."

About POTELLIGENT((R)) Technology

POTELLIGENT((R)) Technology improves potency and efficacy of antibody therapeutics, by enhancing ADCC, one of the major mechanisms of action for antibody therapeutics. POTELLIGENT((R)) Technology involves the reduction of the amount of fucose in the carbohydrate structure of an antibody using a proprietary fucosyltransferase-knockout CHO cell line as a production cell. Research shows that POTELLIGENT((R)) Technology dramatically enhances ADCC activity of an antibody in vitro, and significantly increases potency and efficacy of the antibody in vivo. A number of POTELLIGENT((R)) antibodies are being investigated in human clinical trials.

About BioWa, Inc.

BioWa is a wholly owned subsidiary of Kyowa Hakko Kirin Co., Ltd., Japan's leading pharmaceutical and largest biotech company, and is the exclusive worldwide licensor of AccretaMab((R)) platform. AccretaMab((R)) platform consists of POTELLIGENT((R)) and COMPLEGENT((R)) Technologies, creating a superior antibody molecule with enhanced ADCC and CDC activities. BioWa is offering POTELLIGENT((R)) and COMPLEGENT((R)) Technologies to partners under a license to maximize the value of these technologies. Together with Kyowa Hakko Kirin, BioWa is committed to promote ADCC/CDC enhanced monoclonal antibody-based therapeutics to fight cancer and other life-threatening and debilitating diseases. For more information about BioWa, visit its web site at http://www.biowa.com.

POTELLIGENT((R)), COMPLEGENT((R)), and AccretaMab((R)) are the trademarks of Kyowa Hakko Kirin Co., Ltd. All rights are reserved.

About NKT Therapeutics

NKT Therapeutics, Inc. is a privately held biotechnology company focused on developing therapeutics based on unique immune cells called natural killer T (NKT) cells. The company's mission is to use its expertise to develop a pipeline of first-in-class NKT-based therapeutics to treat asthma, cancer, infectious diseases, autoimmune diseases, and dermatitis. For more information about NKTT, visit its web site at http://www.nktrx.com

SOURCE BioWa, Inc.

CONTACT: Robert Mashal of NKT Therapeutics, +1-781-684-0290,
info@nktrx.com; or Joan Kureczka of Kureczka/Martin Associates,
+1-415-821-2413, Jkureczka@comcast.net; or Masamichi Koike, Ph.D.,
President and CEO of BioWa, Inc., +1-609-580-7500

Web site: http://www.biowa.com/



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