PROLOR Biotech (PBTH) Awarded Second Israeli Government Grant to Support Development of its Longer-Acting Interferon Beta
4/1/2010 12:51:26 PM
NES-ZIONA, Israel, April 1, 2010 -- PROLOR Biotech, Inc. (NYSE Amex: PBTH), a company developing next generation biobetter therapeutic proteins, today announced that the Israeli Office of the Chief Scientist ("OCS") has approved a 2010 continuation of its grant to PROLOR's Israeli-based R&D subsidiary for the company's development program for interferon-beta-1a-CTP (IFN-Beta-CTP), its longer-acting version of interferon-beta-1a (IFN-Beta). IFN-Beta, which is indicated for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS), is currently marketed by Merck Serono as Rebif® and by Biogen Idec as Avonex®, with combined 2009 annual sales estimated at more than $4.4 billion worldwide.
PROLOR recently reported positive results from a study in primates comparing PROLOR's CTP-modified IFN-Beta with commercially available IFN-Beta. The study showed that in primates, PROLOR's CTP-modified IFN-Beta had 13 times greater durability (half-life) and 55 times greater overall drug exposure (AUC) compared to commercially available IFN-Beta. IFN-Beta-CTP also demonstrated strong biological potency as measured by several well-validated biomarkers.
Based on the results of the comparative study, the OCS approved a special continuation grant to support PROLOR's IFN-Beta-CTP program for 2010. The grant is expected to provide cash reimbursements for approximately 35% of the estimated $1.5 million in expenses expected to be paid for IFN-Beta-CTP product development during 2010.
"This generous continuation grant from the OCS is an important non-dilutive cash resource for PROLOR's IFN-Beta-CTP development program, and we believe that it represents another validation of the potential of our CTP technology," said Abraham Havron, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of PROLOR. "Going forward, we also hope to obtain an average of 35% cash reimbursements from the OCS for our IFN-Beta-CTP development expenses in 2011 and 2012. This visionary program is particularly attractive for PROLOR because the grants are repaid only upon the generation of commercial revenue from IFN-Beta-CTP or our other CTP-based products. We are grateful for this valuable source of non-dilutive capital."
Under the terms of the grant, PROLOR is required to repay the OCS the sum of the grant plus accrued interest through a series of payments that would begin only when the IFN-Beta-CTP product or other products that PROLOR develops with its CTP technology begin to generate commercial revenues.
ABOUT PROLOR BIOTECH
PROLOR Biotech, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company applying unique technologies, including its patented CTP technology, primarily to develop longer-acting, biobetter, proprietary versions of already approved therapeutic proteins that currently generate billions of dollars in annual global sales. The CTP technology is applicable to virtually all proteins and PROLOR is currently developing long-acting versions of human growth hormone, which is in clinical development, and interferon beta, factor VII, factor IX and erythropoietin, which are in preclinical development, as well as GLP-1 and other therapeutic peptides. For more information on PROLOR, visit www.prolor-biotech.com.