PARIS, March 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Nautilus Biotech, a leading drug discovery and development company, today announced the signing of a collaboration and license agreement with HanAll Pharmaceutical (KSE, 009420) to develop and commercialize three Nautilus Biotech products in South Korea: Belerofon(R) (Interferon alpha); Vitatropin(R) (human growth hormone); and Eporal(tm) (erythropoietin).
The agreement with HanAll Pharmaceuticals is limited to the territory of South Korea; Nautilus Biotech will continue to pursue the clinical development of these products in the USA as part of the Company's strategy for global commercialisation of these products.
Nautilus Biotech's novel technology makes minimal and specific changes to the amino acid sequence in order to slow the breakdown of the protein in the body, in blood, tissues or intestine. The three Nautilus Biotech proprietary proteins included in the agreement have been designed for extended half-life and oral availability. By reducing the number and frequency of treatments needed and offering oral administration, these new drugs will enhance patient convenience and compliance.
HanAll Pharmaceutical, which develops and manufactures prescription and over the counter products, currently markets Interferon alpha in South Korea.
The three products that come under the license agreement include Belerofon, Nautilus Biotech's long-lasting human Interferon alpha, which has therapeutic potential for a number of conditions, including chronic Hepatitis C (HCV). Nautilus Biotech submitted an Investigational New Drug (IND) filing for oral Belerofon last month, following its submission in October 2006 for an IND filing for injectable Belerofon. HCV is the most prevalent liver disease in the world, with over 170 million people worldwide suffering from the condition, according to the World Health Organization. Only half of all HCV patients benefit from current therapy and the market is expected to grow from $2.2bn in 2005 to $8.8bn in 2015 (Datamonitor).
The license agreement with HanAll Pharmaceutical includes Vitatropin, Nautilus Biotech's proprietary variant of human growth hormone (hGH), for the treatment of children and adults with growth disorders. hGH is currently only available in injectable form and is normally administered daily. Injectable Vitatropin has the potential to require less frequent injection as a therapeutic protein and Nautilus Biotech is developing Vitatropin as an oral version of hGH. In 2005 global sales of hGH were $2.7bn.
Nautilus Biotech's agreement with HanAll Pharmaceutical also includes the development and commercialisation in South Korea of Eporal, an orally available version of the hormone erythropoietin, which stimulates the body to produce more red blood cells and is used in the treatment of anaemia. Erythropoietin drugs are currently only available in injectable form. Erythropoietin is the biggest selling protein drug with worldwide sales of over $11bn in 2005.
Nautilus Biotech is focusing its research on developing oral versions of these three therapeutic proteins.
Commenting on the deal, HanAll Pharmaceutical's Executive Vice President, Sung-soo Jun, said: "We are looking forward to working with Nautilus Biotech. This collaboration reinforces HanAll Pharmaceutical's efforts to maintain and enhance its role as a leading player in the South Korean prescription drug market".
Under the terms of the agreement, HanAll Pharmaceutical will develop, manufacture and market the licensed products in the territory of South Korea. Nautilus Biotech will receive an upfront payment, milestone payments associated with development, and royalty payments based on net sales of products in South Korea.
"Nautilus Biotech has a unique technology for improving protein medicines and is aggressively moving its lead products into clinical development in the USA. HanAll Pharmaceutical has the commitment to bring these medicines to market in South Korea", said Manuel Vega, Chief Executive Officer of Nautilus Biotech. "We believe that the collaboration between Nautilus Biotech and HanAll Pharmaceutical will enable us to build on the exciting advances we have already made in our pipeline of oral therapeutic proteins for a number of conditions".
About Nautilus Biotech
Nautilus Biotech is a leading drug discovery and development company with a novel pipeline of next-generation therapeutic proteins with superior pharmacological profiles. The Company's protein engineering technology improves the characteristics of protein drugs, advancing drug stability and administration. Nautilus Biotech also creates proprietary best-in-class 'next- generation' therapeutic proteins that are suitable for oral administration. Nautilus Biotech is located at Genopole(R) in Evry, France.
About HanAll Pharmaceutical
HanAll Pharmaceutical's core business activities are R&D, manufacturing, and sales and marketing of prescription drugs. Based in South Korea and established in November 1973, the company's products extend to most of the major therapeutic areas prescribed in hospitals and its R&D pipelines include: a new chemical entity for antidiabetics of AMPK (activated protein kinase) activator; immunosuppressant antiatopic dermatitis without side-effects; functional compounds of cardiovascular agents (based on xenobiotics and chronotherapy); and functional drug delivery system of advanced formulations technology. HanAll leads in the areas of prescription parenteral nutrition infusions, third-generation cephalosporins and dermatology products. HanAll's major research areas include pharmaceutical formulation of medicinal chemistry and biotechnology. HanAll Pharmaceutical is located in Seoul, South Korea