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Rhenovia Signs Two-Year EUR 500,000 Partnership With AFM to Support its Simulation Technology for Diseases of the Nervous System


12/9/2010 11:21:22 AM

Mulhouse and Evry, France, December 9, 2010 - Rhenovia Pharma SAS, a biotechnology company specialized in the development and optimization of treatments for diseases of the central and peripheral nervous system, announces today that it has signed a strategic partnership agreement with the French Muscular Dystrophy Association (Association Française contre les Myopathies – AFM). The two-year agreement is worth more than 500,000 Euros.

This strategic collaboration is aimed at speeding up the development of Rhenovia’s unique technology for simulating neuronal transmission and pushing ahead with experimental validation so as to be able to apply the technology faster. It will give AFM access to a speedier scientific approach for discovering and developing new pharmacological treatments for rare neurodegenerative diseases. This approach will also benefit pathologies that affect larger patient numbers, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Rhenovia’s neuronal transmission biosimulation platform is currently the most sophisticated simulation technology used in research into new medicines for diseases affecting the brain. It also improves the efficacy and/or the side-effect profiles of existing medicines and enables drug candidates sidelined by the pharmaceutical industry to be reassessed. The Rhenovia platform is capable of reproducing experimental results on a computer and, conversely, of predicting the effects of medicines whose efficacy can then be confirmed experimentally. This technology brings a reduction in costs, since part of the research on animal models is replaced by computer studies, improves the success rate for drug candidates by taking account of physiological and pathological realities, and reduces the time to market (fewer false leads, etc.).

The potency and validity of the approach adopted by Rhenovia’s researchers - the first in the world to have succeeded in simulating on a computer the intimate cellular and molecular mechanisms that are affected in certain nervous system pathologies - were described in a recent publication (Ambert et al., Open Access Bioinformatics, 2010, 2:113-125) and in several scientific papers presented at the American Neuroscience Society congress in San Diego on November 13-17 (http://www.rhenovia.com).

Rhenovia is already making its unique technology available to the biopharmaceutical industry as a service or through partnerships. This enables companies to optimize their research and development into drugs for numerous central nervous system diseases, in particular through the discovery and validation of new therapeutic targets, in silico pharmacological characterization, improvements in the efficacy of drug candidates, and the extension of patent protection for products on the market whose patents are about to run out. The extension of Rhenovia’s platform, especially through its collaboration with the AFM, will facilitate the creation of a new platform specially designed for application to peripheral nervous system diseases in general and diseases connected with a change in muscular plaque in particular (eg muscular dystrophy, lateral amyotrophic sclerosis and multiple sclerosis).

“Rhenovia is delighted to combine its efforts with those of the AFM, a leading player on the French research scene, especially in the area of research into treatments for rare nervous system diseases and genetic muscular diseases,” said the chairman and CEO of Rhenovia Pharma, Dr. Serge Bischoff. “Our unique technology will enable research laboratories associated with the AFM to improve their efficiency and optimize their research costs. This agreement is a perfect illustration of the relevance and strength of our technology.”

“This agreement with Rhenovia, the world leader in its field, will enable us to speed up some of our research programs and open up new avenues of research for rare diseases of the central and peripheral nervous system,” said the AFM’s scientific director, Dr. Serge Braun. “These advances will also benefit more common neurodegenerative diseases.”

About Rhenovia Pharma SAS

Rhenovia Pharma SAS is a private biotechnology company specialized in the development and optimization of treatments for Alzheimer’s and other diseases of the central and peripheral nervous system. It has developed and implemented a unique technology in a biosimulation platform. Rhenovia is among the world leaders in biosimulation applied to drug development in the nervous system. Rhenovia has developed the first platform that reproduces on the computer cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in learning and memory and in a variety of brain pathologies related to the disruption of the balance between excitation and inhibition that occur in a number of diseases. These include neurological diseases such as epilepsy, neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer or Parkinson, and psychiatric indications such as schizophrenia and depression. More than 90 per cent of the existing drugs in this therapeutic area are active in the synapse and act directly or indirectly on excitation and inhibition. Using this platform, Rhenovia offers its RHEDDOS program (Rhenovia Drug Development Optimization Services) for services, partnerships and strategic alliances with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies wishing for example to extend drug life cycle, develop new drug combinations and identify new targets for therapeutic molecules.

Rhenovia was founded in 2007 to develop new technologies aiming at optimizing the drug discovery and development process of the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry. In addition to the founders, the company has built a management team that combines extensive scientific and management experience in large pharmaceutical companies. Rhenovia operates presently with a team of 11 employees and six external collaborators, and moved in November 2009 to its own facility in Mulhouse (France). The company has raised around EUR 2 million in investor funding (Alsace Business Angels, SODIV, a regional seed fund) as well as various government and European Community grants, calls for projects and loans and funding from Rhenovia’s founders and team members who hold the majority of shares. Rhenovia attained cumulative gross sales of over half a million euros over the three years 2008, 2009, 2010. In 2010, sales have more than tripled (forecasts EUR 340,000) and the company looks forward to making significant progress in 2011 and beyond. Further information on how to partner with Rhenovia is available on the company’s website: http://www.rhenovia.com

About the AFM

The French Muscular Dystrophy Association (AFM) federates patients with neuromuscular diseases (genetic diseases that kill muscle after muscle) and their parents. Thanks in great part to donations from France's annual Telethon (EUR 95 million in 2009), the AFM has become a major player in biomedical research into rare diseases in France and worldwide. It is currently funding 36 clinical trials on 30 different genetic diseases affecting the eyes, the blood, the brain, the immune system, the muscle... as well in the field of the gene therapy as in that of the pharmacology or the cellular therapy.

Lynne Chapman ANDREW LLOYD & ASSOCIATES http://www.ala.com lynne@ala.com

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