GAITHERSBURG, Md., Oct. 20 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- MedImmune, Inc. announced today that it has entered into a licensing and collaboration agreement with Avidia, Inc. to develop anti-cancer products targeting cMET, a receptor tyrosine kinase found in high levels in certain cancer cells. The collaboration also calls for the development of two additional targets using Avidia's Avimer technology. Avimers, which are small, stable proteins that can act like antibodies and bind selectively to different receptors or ligands, may have several advantages as therapeutic products in terms of biological activity, tissue distribution, reduced immunogenicity, and improved manufacturing efficiencies.
"We were initially introduced to Avidia's promising Avimer technology in 2004 through MedImmune Ventures' participation in Avidia's Series B financing," said Peter A. Kiener, D.Phil., MedImmune's senior vice president, research. "We have been impressed with Avidia's progress, and look forward to combining our growing expertise in the field of tyrosine kinase research with the Avimer technology to develop anti-cancer product candidates. Due to their size and potential versatility, Avidia's Avimers may provide advantages over monoclonal antibodies for the treatment or prevention of disease."
Under the terms of the contract, MedImmune will be responsible for clinical development and commercialization of products resulting from the agreement. Avidia will provide research and development support and receive an upfront fee, development and regulatory milestone payments, as well as royalties on any future marketed products.
"MedImmune's leadership in protein engineering and the development of biotechnology drugs makes the company an ideal partner for Avidia. This collaboration will help us to further our experience in the design and development of Avimer products," said Peter Van Vlasselaer, Ph.D., Avidia's chief executive officer. "We look forward to this collaboration, which we consider an external validation of our technology."
CMET is a receptor tyrosine kinase found at high levels in certain cancer cells where it is believed to be associated with tumor growth, survival and metastasis. Over-expression of cMET and its ligand, hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), has been observed in head and neck, non-small cell lung, ovarian, breast, esophageal and colorectal cancers. Preclinical research has also linked high levels of cMET to shorter overall survival times based on samples from breast and esophageal cancer patients.
Avimers are a new class of small, assembled, therapeutic proteins. They can contain multiple binding domains, each with the potential to bind to a separate target; and, therefore, may bind simultaneously to one or multiple protein targets. Avimers are structurally unrelated to antibodies; but, as has been observed in preclinical studies, they perform the same functions of inhibiting or inducing a specific biologic function.
About MedImmune and MedImmune Ventures, Inc.
MedImmune strives to provide better medicines to patients, new medical options for physicians, rewarding careers to employees, and increased value to shareholders. Dedicated to advancing science and medicine to help people live better lives, the company is focused on the areas of infectious diseases, cancer and inflammatory diseases. With more than 2,000 employees worldwide, MedImmune is headquartered in Maryland.
MedImmune Ventures, Inc. is a wholly owned venture capital subsidiary of MedImmune, Inc. It was created in 2002 to leverage the company's expertise in discovering, developing and commercializing biotechnology products, as well as its financial resources, to transform new ideas in biotechnology into successful products and companies. MedImmune Ventures invests in early- to late-stage, public or private biotechnology companies focused on discovering and developing human therapeutics. It primarily seeks to invest in areas of strategic interest to MedImmune, including infectious disease, immunology and oncology.
For more information, visit http://www.medimmune.com.
Avidia, a privately held biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Mountain View, California, is focused on the discovery and development of a novel, proprietary class of small therapeutic proteins. Avidia hopes to leverage its expertise in the design and manufacture of these proteins to develop products that are directed against validated therapeutic targets with clear mechanisms of action in large clinical indications with unmet need. For more information, visit http://www.avidia.com/.
This announcement may contain, in addition to historical information, certain forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Such statements reflect management's current views and are based on certain assumptions about the success of these programs. Actual results could differ materially from those currently anticipated as a result of a number of factors, including risks and uncertainties discussed in MedImmune's filings with the SEC. MedImmune is developing product candidates for potential future marketing. There can be no assurance that such development efforts will succeed, that such product candidates will receive required regulatory clearance or, even if such regulatory clearance is obtained, that such products would ultimately achieve commercial success.
This press release can be found on MedImmune's website at http://www.medimmune.com in the box marked "News" or with the archived press releases on the Investor Summary page.
MedImmune, Inc.; Avidia, Inc.