Copenhagen and Lelystad, 22 March, 2011 – Zealand Pharma (NASDAQ OMX: ZEAL), a Scandinavian based biopharmaceutical company with a late-stage pipeline of innovative peptide-based drugs, and Pepscan Holding NV, a Dutch peptide technology firm, today announced the joint award of an EU research and development grant of EUR 860,000. The grant is awarded under the EUREKA Eurostars programme for the joint development of dual acting peptide drugs. The application by Zealand Pharma and Pepscan ranked no. 5 out of approximately 350 applications. With the collaboration, the two companies combine their competences to develop drugs to better treat chronic inflammations and gastrointestinal diseases, including Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
Zealand Pharma has a history of efficient discovery of therapeutic peptides and broad expertise in the development of peptide drugs with dual activities. Pepscan has strong capabilities in the synthesis of peptides and a unique technology platform to help optimize the activity and the stability of therapeutic peptides.
The grant awarded to Zealand Pharma and Pepscan covers a two-year development period, which is expected to lead to the identification of a lead dual acting peptide drug candidate ready for preclinical development.
Christian Grøndahl, Chief Scientific Officer of Zealand Pharma, said:
“Zealand Pharma and Pepscan have complementary knowledge in the area of therapeutic peptides. Combining Pepscan’s technology platform for peptide improvement with Zealand Pharma’s unique expertise in the field of dual acting peptides leaves a very strong foundation for improved design of novel drugs to more efficiently treat a number of diseases.”
Wim Mol, Chief Executive Officer of Pepscan, added:
”We are very pleased with the high international ranking which our joint project obtained. It is great that independent European experts also recognize the potential of our technology platform and our approach to generate superior therapeutic peptides. This grant further supports pivotal collaboration with reputable partners.”
For further information; please contact
David Solomon, President and CEO – Tel: +45 4328 1210 or mobile: +45 2220 6300
Hanne Leth Hillman, Vice President, Head of Investor Relations & Corporate Communications
Tel: +45 8877 3689 or Mobile: +45 5060 3689
Wim Mol, CEO - Tel: +31 320 225300
About the EU Eurostars programme
The “EUROSTARS” programme supports research and development performing enterprises by providing funding for their market-oriented research activities. The Eurostars programme is managed by EUREKA – a pan-European network for market-oriented industrial research and development.- and is collaborative, meaning it must involve participants from at least two different EUREKA member countries. For more information, please visit the Eurostars website: www.eurostars-eureka.eu
Pepscan Holding NV is a privately held company based in Lelystad, The Netherlands. Pepscan is using its proprietary high throughput CLIPS protein mimicking technology for the development of novel constrained therapeutic peptides and immunogens. Besides its pipeline of proprietary anti-GPCR monoclonal antibody products, Pepscan has various ongoing collaborations with leading pharmaceutical and biotech companies to develop novel therapeutics based on the proprietary CLIPS technology. For further information on Pepscan, please visit the company website: www.pepscantherapeutics.com
About Zealand Pharma
Zealand Pharma A/S is a public (NASDAQ OMX: ZEAL) Scandinavian based biopharmaceutical company with a mature and growing clinical pipeline of innovative peptide based drugs. The company’s lead product candidate is a once-daily GLP-1 in late-stage Phase III development for the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes in collaboration with sanofi-aventis. Zealand Pharma also has several other collaboration and licensing partnerships, including a license agreement with Helsinn Healthcare on a clinical stage GLP-2 drug for the treatment of Radio and Chemotherapy-Induced Diarrhoea.
Zealand Pharma has unique expertise in peptide discovery and optimization and in the development of novel peptide drugs with favourable therapeutic attributes. The company targets metabolic (diabetes and obesity), gastrointestinal and cardiovascular diseases, where existing treatments fail to adequately serve patient needs and where the market potential for improved treatments through the use of peptide drugs is high. All of Zealand Pharma’s product candidates have been identified through the company’s own drug discovery activities. The company is headquartered in Copenhagen and has approximately 90 employees. For more information please visit www.zealandpharma.com.