PARIS, March 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Diatos SA, a Paris-based privately held biopharmaceutical company, announced today that Medarex has granted full European commercialization rights for DTS-201 (a doxorubicin prodrug for targeted cancer therapy) to Diatos. In exchange for these rights, Diatos agreed to pay an upfront payment in cash and stock, milestone payments and royalties on future sales of DTS-201.
In April of 2003, Diatos licensed from Medarex certain European rights to develop and commercialize DTS-201. Since in-licensing the product in early preclinical development, Diatos has completed preclinical development and initiated in July 2005 an open label Phase I clinical study with DTS-201 involving three leading oncology clinical centers in Belgium and France. The main purpose of the current clinical trial is an assessment of its MTD (Maximum Tolerated Dose), safety profile and pharmacokinetics in patients with advanced or metastatic solid tumors.
"Obtaining the full commercialization rights in Europe from Medarex underlines Diatos' commitment to building a robust portfolio of targeted oncology therapeutic candidates, thereby reinforcing the company's position as a strong European player in prodrug therapeutics," stated Dr. John Tchelingerian, President and CEO of Diatos. "DTS-201 is one of the several targeted Diatos oncology drug candidates, combining well-established chemotherapeutic drugs with prodrug technologies," added Dr Tchelingerian.
DTS-201 consists of doxorubicin (a marketed cytotoxic compound used in treating several cancer types) conjugated to a proprietary peptide technology discovered in 1996 by Pr Andre Trouet and his team at Universite Catholique de Louvain (Belgium). DTS-201 is called Super-Leu-Dox (CPI-0004) in the USA.
DTS-201 is a prodrug: it remains inactive while circulating in the bloodstream and healthy tissues and does not enter cells. In the vicinity of tumors, extracellular enzymes overexpressed and oversecreted specifically in the tumor environment cleave DTS-201 to yield an intermediate, L-Dox (leucyl doxorubicin), which is capable of penetrating cells. Once in the cell, intracellular peptidases release free doxorubicin, which is then able to interact with its targets. The ability to target and deliver anti-cancer agents preferentially to tumors and limit their toxic effect on normal cells is expected to result in better clinical outcomes both in terms of improved response rates and lower toxicity. Diatos has initiated a Phase I clinical trial with DTS-201 in July 2005 in Europe (Belgium and France).
Diatos is a product-driven biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the development and commercialization of novel anti-cancer therapies. The company's therapeutic candidates DTS-301, a novel paclitaxel formulation and DTS-201, a doxorubicin prodrug, respectively entered Phase II and Phase I clinical trials in 2005. Diatos is also expanding its portfolio of drug candidates with new compounds that utilize the Diatos Peptide Vector (DPV) intra-cellular/intra-nuclear Vectocell(R) delivery technology or its Tumor-Selective Prodrug (TSP) technology as well as with in-licensed clinical-stage cancer therapies. Diatos has entered into research collaboration agreements with several European and US biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies for the use of Vectocell(R) technology.
Founded in 1999 as a spin-off from Institut Pasteur, Diatos has raised 33 million Euros to date from Sofinnova Partners (France), GIMV (Belgium), InterWest Partners (USA), Credit Agricole Private Equity (France), AGF Private Equity (France), Innoven Partenaires (France), Societe Generale Asset Management (France), NIF Ventures (Japan), Biotech Fund Flanders (Belgium), Sopartec (Belgium) and Institut Pasteur (France). Diatos has 46 employees in total, most of them located at the Paris headquarters, and also at its R & D subsidiary in Leuven, Belgium (Diatos N.V., 8 employees) and in the USA, where its Chief Business Officer is based (Diatos USA, Inc -- California). For more information about Diatos, visit its Web site at www.diatos.com.
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