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Phyton Biotech, Inc., A DFB Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Affiliate, Signs Licensing Agreement With DiAthegen, LLC To Commercialize Growth Hormone Receptor Antagonist That Treats Acromegaly, Cancer, Diabetes



4/11/2006 12:34:10 PM

EAST WINDSOR, N.J., April 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Phyton Biotech, Inc., a DFB Pharmaceuticals affiliate, and DiAthegen LLC have announced the signing of a licensing agreement whereby Phyton will develop and commercialize DiAthegen's long-acting growth hormone receptor antagonist for the treatment of acromegaly, cancer and diabetes.

Via this agreement, Phyton receives worldwide marketing rights in exchange for milestone and royalty payments to DiAthegen. Phyton also receives certain rights to the application of DiAthegen's technology to additional protein products.

"The marriage of DiAthegen's plant cell culture technology and Phyton Biotech's plant cell fermentation development and manufacturing expertise is a perfect match," said Magnus Precht, President of Phyton Biotech. "We expect DiAthegen's platform to be a breakthrough for the development of safe and long-acting protein therapeutics."

Acromegaly is a debilitating condition resulting from the over-production of growth hormone that affects thousands worldwide, according to The Pituitary Foundation. Effective treatments can extend life span and improve quality of life for these patients, according to Phyton Biotech and DiAthegen.

"At this point, it is only possible to speculate about the impact of these protein therapeutics," continued Mr. Precht. "Many marketed protein therapeutics suffer from short half-lives. Often these proteins are administered in high doses compared to normal physiological levels. Long- acting versions may provide the opportunity to administer normal physiological quantities with improved side effects. In addition, patients are likely to prefer longer intervals between injections."

"This licensing agreement represents an important step toward DFB Pharmaceutical's and Phyton Biotech's strategic goal of developing novel pharmaceutical products," said Paul Dorman, CEO and Chairman of DFB Pharmaceuticals.

DiAthegen licensed the growth hormone antagonist as well as the underlying plant cell culture technology platform from Ohio University.

"By genetically manipulating plant cells, this platform allows sophisticated glycosylation patterns to be added to virtually any transgenic therapeutic protein," according to Charles Swindell, Ph.D., Vice President of Research and Development for Phyton Biotech. "This results in increased molecular weight, reduced clearance, and improved drug exposure and therapeutic benefit."

"This technology offers an attractive alternative to pegylation for the extension of protein half-life," Dr. Swindell remarked.

DiAthegen's scientific founder Dr. John Kopchick has a long background in the pharmaceutical industry and academic research.

"We are excited about Phyton's development of the first product," Dr. Kopchick stated. "Not only is there a clear medical need for a growth hormone receptor antagonist with improved half-life, but this program initiates the application of DiAthegen's technology to an array of protein therapeutics in the growth hormone and diabetes area that will benefit from extended pharmacokinetics."

DiAthegen LLC, based in Athens, Ohio, is a developer of new diagnostics, therapeutic targets and therapeutics using genomic and proteomic approaches in animal models obesity, hyperinsulinemea and diabetes.

Phyton Biotech owns and operates the world's largest cGMP plant cell fermentation facility with bioreactors up to 75,000 liter in size. Phyton produces paclitaxel for Bristol-Myers Squibb's Taxol(R) oncology product and is now focusing its research and development efforts on developing transgenic protein therapeutics utilizing Phyton's broad expertise in plant cell suspension culture technology.

Phyton Biotech, Inc., based in East Windsor, N.J., is a subsidiary of DFB Pharmaceuticals Inc. Phyton's proprietary plant cell culture technology platform is used to develop and manufacture products with applications in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. Its German subsidiary, Phyton Biotech GmbH, operates the world's largest commercial cGMP manufacturing facility for plant cell fermentation.

Based in Fort Worth, DFB Pharmaceuticals Inc. is a privately held Texas corporation that provides technology-driven pharmaceutical products, outsourcing services, and licensing opportunities to the healthcare industry worldwide through Phyton and its other affiliates, HEALTHPOINT, Ltd. and Coria Laboratories, Ltd., both branded marketing organizations; DPT Laboratories, Ltd., an outsourcing service organization to the pharmaceutical industry; and DFB Bioscience, focusing on cell based therapeutic research and development. Visit http://www.dfb.com for additional information.

Phyton Biotech, Inc.

CONTACT: Magnus Precht of Phyton Biotech, Inc., +1-609-426-2520, ormagnus.precht@phytonbiotech.com


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