TORONTO, April 4 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - Microbix Biosystems Inc. today announced the signing of a worldwide exclusive agreement with Angiogen LLC to commercialize a proprietary technology that has shown promise for treating prostate, colon and other human cancers.
Based in Chicago, Angiogen is providing exclusive rights to its patented technology which uses urokinase in a cocktail containing an additional FDA approved small chemical drug. Once inside the body, this Angiostatic Cocktail generates the anti-cancer agent Angiostatin 4.5 (AS4.5), which destroys specific blood vessels, thereby removing the blood supply that nourishes the tumor. The cancer cells are then starved of the energy needed to survive and grow.
Microbix manufactures low molecular weight urokinase and under this agreement will be the exclusive supplier of this product for all oncology indications.
Microbix and Angiogen will jointly pursue third-party pharmaceutical partners for oncology applications, and they expect that the first commercial application of the drug will be for metastatic prostate cancer. Other indications, including colon cancer, will be tested soon thereafter. The pharmaceutical partner will be responsible for clinical trials and FDA approval.
Angiogen will receive a royalty from sales of the Angiostatic Cocktail, and Microbix will generate revenue by supplying urokinase used in the combination. The market for such cancer therapies is very large. Sales of cancer drugs were over $ 40 billion in 2004 and are growing. More than $3.5 billion a year is now spent on colorectal cancer therapy, and some $5.4 billion annually on prostate cancer therapy.
Prior clinical studies using the Angiostatic Cocktail in humans (at low doses) and compassionate use cases have shown very promising results for this new technology, including generation of Angiostatin 4.5, the reduction of some tumors, and a decline in serum tumor markers, with benign side effects.
The proprietary technology may also be effective in combination with other clinical techniques. Today's announced agreement brings together the clinical expertise of Dr. Gerald Soff, a leading cancer researcher and inventor of this new approach to cancer therapy, and Microbix, which manufactures urokinase at a new state-of-the-art facility in Toronto.
Microbix stated earlier this year that it was pursuing a new strategy with respect to its urokinase product, and that it would be negotiating for rights to new patented uses of the drug. "This agreement launches us on that path as we begin to build a market franchise in manufacturing urokinase products that meet specific clinical needs," said William J. Gastle, President and CEO of Microbix.
Dr. Soff developed the Angiostatic Cocktail at Northwestern University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois. Soff has emphasized that he is very enthusiastic about the agreement with Microbix. "We're delighted with this agreement," said Soff. "Microbix will be invaluable in helping us develop this new therapy and bring it to market more efficiently".
Mark Arizmendia, President of Angiogen, added that "this is an outstanding opportunity to marry Microbix' expertise in urokinase and cell culture with our innovative intellectual property and drive shareholder value for both companies as well as benefit cancer patients in the US and abroad."
Microbix specializes in developing proprietary biological technologies and commercializing them through global partners. The Company has intellectual property in large market biotherapeutic drugs, vaccine technologies and animal reproduction technologies. Established in 1988, Microbix is headquartered in Toronto.
Angiogen, LLC is a biopharmaceutical company developing novel treatments for solid, vascular cancers. The Company has a unique discovery engine targeted to the inhibition of angiogenesis (blood vessel development) in growing tumors. Angiogen recognized that combining two FDA-approved drugs - a plasminogen activator, such as urokinase, and a free sulfhydryl donor used to treat high blood pressure - could generate a proprietary anti-cancer treatment. The "Angiostatic Cocktail" produces the protein Angiostatin 4.5 in the body. This protein is a potent anti-angiogenic agent and could be an effective treatment for many types of cancer. Angiogen was founded in 1999 and is based in Chicago, Illinois.
This press release contains forward looking statements, which are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those set out in the forward-looking statements. The Company's initiatives in all its business areas, including R&D, manufacturing, quality affairs, clinical trials, licensing agreements, patents and intellectual property, financing and regulatory affairs are subject to risks and uncertainties, some of which may be unknown to the Company. Risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the Company's initiatives to secure third party licensing agreements, potential partners' assessment of the patents and intellectual property underlying the Angiostatic Cocktail, funding to undertake clinical trials and efficacy of the Angiostatic Cocktail in those trials, success of the process leading to regulatory approval, the ability of the Company to manufacture urokinase. These forward-looking statements represent the Company's judgement as of the date of this press release. The investor should not place undue reliance on forward looking statements. The Company disclaims any intent or obligation to update these forward looking statements.
Microbix Biosystems Inc.