Rhenovia Enters Into a Strategic Alliance with Portmann Instruments for Marketing its Biosimulation Services in Switzerland  
5/25/2011 1:36:23 PM

Mulhouse, France, and Basle, Switzerland, May 25, 2011 - Rhenovia Pharma SAS, a biotechnology company specialized in the development and optimization of treatments for diseases of the central and peripheral nervous systems, announces today the signing of a strategic alliance agreement with Portmann Instruments AG (PIAG). PIAG is a Swiss company specialized in the manufacture and supply of high-precision instrumentation for the chemical, pharmaceutical and biotech industries. This agreement will enable Rhenovia to establish a permanent presence in Switzerland, one of Europe’s largest pharmaceutical markets, and to market a range of services there that utilize its biosimulation platform for optimizing the drug discovery and development activities of biopharmaceutical companies.

Through this alliance, Rhenovia and PIAG will pool their respective know-how and areas of expertise to exploit and capitalize on the new technologies developed by Rhenovia. By teaming up with a Swiss company, Rhenovia will be able to forge closer relations with the many biopharmaceutical companies, technology suppliers and financial institutions with which it does business and to extend the range of services it can offer to the Swiss nutrition and food supplement market. This alliance is aimed at establishing a new company or joint venture, whose structure, funding and modus operandi will be determined before the year end.

As part of its strategic alliance with Rhenovia, PIAG is to set up a special unit and an ultra-modern laboratory for physico-chemical analysis. This laboratory will enable Rhenovia to push ahead more rapidly with the development of its technological solutions, proceed with the validation of its biosimulation platforms and establish proof-of-concept for its Rhenovia Isoelectric Filtration Technologies (RHIFT) (TM) platform, which is designed to identify and track biological markers of the efficacy and side-effects of drugs, but also has numerous other industrial applications.

The agreement provides for PIAG to take charge of the prototyping of the very advanced transdermal patch developed by the two companies within the bipartite framework of the European Eurostars project, for which Rhenovia was the project leader. PIAG will be responsible for designing the apparatus to be used for feasibility studies and for setting up the pre-industrialization phases.

“We are delighted with the signing of this strategic alliance agreement with PIAG,” said the president & CEO of Rhenovia Pharma, Dr. Serge Bischoff. “It is the result of a long-running rapprochement between the two companies’ executives, which took concrete shape in 2008 with the Eurostars project. Through this alliance, Rhenovia, which has only been in existence for four years, has been able to create its first subsidiary in Switzerland and speed up the international development of its activities, especially in Switzerland and, by extension, Germany. This agreement is indicative of the importance of our technology portfolio, which ranges from biosimulation to drug delivery and includes extremely efficient techniques for administering tailor-made drugs transdermally. Rhenovia has considerably broadened the field of application of its technology platforms, extending it to drug toxicity and the prevention of disease through nutritional health, as well as to the identification of diagnostic and drug efficacy markers. Rhenovia will continue to enter into partnerships and alliances like today’s one with PIAG to consolidate its activities in these new areas and strengthen its core drug design optimization business.”

“We are pleased that our strong partnership with Rhenovia has spawned this alliance,” added the CEO of PIAG, Peter Stark. “This new agreement will enable PIAG to undertake new activities, diversify its industrial applications and enter new markets, such as high-precision instrumentation for the pharmaceutical and chemical industries and transdermal procedures and devices for innovative therapies.”

Rhenovia Pharma will be present on stand 2505 of the French pavilion at the World BIO exhibition, which will be taking place from 27 to 30 June in Washington, DC.

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 systems. It has developed and implemented a unique technology based on a biosimulation platform. Rhenovia is a world leader 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 occurs in a number of diseases. These include neurological diseases such as epilepsy, neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, 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 directly or indirectly act on excitation or inhibition. Rhenovia offers its RHEDDOS program (Rhenovia Drug Development Optimization Services) for services, partnerships and strategic alliances with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies interested for example to extend drug life cycle, develop new drug combinations and identify new targets for therapeutic molecules.

Rhenovia is based in Mulhouse, France with 20 collaborators in France, Switzerland, Germany and the USA. It was founded in 2007 to develop new technologies to optimize the drug discovery and development process of the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry. The company has raised around EUR 2.5 million in investor funding (Rhenovia’s founders and team members, Alsace Business Angels, SODIV, a regional seed fund) as well as various government and European Community calls-for-projects. Rhenovia annual sales have risen each year since its creation and reached EUR 370,000 in 2010, the year in which it achieved profitability for the first time.

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About Portmann Instruments AG

Portmann Instruments AG (PIAG), a privately owned Swiss SME, is a technology company in the field of analytical chemistry. Its business consists in the distribution/sales of scientific instruments and the development and modification of instrumentation for specific needs. It was founded in 1975 and is based in Biel-Benken near Basel (Switzerland). In 2010, it reached a turnover of 2.6 million Swiss Francs and currently has ten employees.

By working in the field of analytical instrumentation for chemistry, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and precision mechanic companies for such a long time, PIAG has gained a strong expertise in the development of optical technologies, including spectrometry, microscopy, and mechanical systems and electrophoresis separation techniques.

PIAG has engineered many instrumentation projects and manufactured respective prototypes for Original Equipment Manufacturer customers. Several of its innovations are now present in current instrument portfolios of its customers. The development and engineering of a new design for a device combining multiple filtrations techniques, for which PIAG holds the patents, is an exciting outlook to future instrument technologies.

Several projects with different customers and, in particular the participation in a Eurostars international project for the development of a transdermal patch to deliver drugs in a controlled way to Alzheimer’s disease patients, has introduced the company to pharmaceuticals and diagnostics markets.

PIAG’s extensive infrastructure includes 3D-computer aided design (CAD), a computer-numerically controlled machinery park, electromechanical development tools and an analytical laboratory.

Mark Tidmarsh


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