, Jan. 6, 2014
/PRNewswire/ - Portage Biotech Inc. ("Portage") (OTCQB: PTGEF, CNSX: PBT.U)
, is pleased to announce that it has acquired approximately 54% equity
in Biohaven Pharmaceutical Holding Company Limited ("Biohaven"), a
private corporation formed under the laws of the British Virgin
, for $3.5 million
, payable as $1.75 million
upfront and the
balance in three installments over the next eleven months.
Biohaven is engaged in the identification and development of clinical
stage neuroscience compounds targeting the glutamatergic system.
Biohaven has a worldwide license from Yale University to use
intellectual property relating to the use of certain glutamate
modulating agents in the treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders. The
company's first drug candidate is a glutamate modulating agent being
developed for treatment-resistant mood and anxiety disorders.
Biohaven has assembled a team of experts who have extensive experience
in the development of therapeutic agents for affective disorders and
also comprise the originators at Yale University who discovered the
therapeutic potential of glutamate modulation in anxiety and
depression. Team members have designed and executed successful
development programs testing a variety of agents in affective
disorders, leading to first-cycle FDA approvals and successful
commercialization of these new drugs in the CNS (central nervous
"Acquiring majority ownership in Biohaven is an important step for
Portage as this represents the second leg of our business model which
is to add compelling new products with strong management teams as
subsidiaries," commented Dr. Greg Bailey Chairman of Portage. "Similar
to Portage Pharmaceuticals ("PPL"), we plan on identifying additional
products for the Biohaven team as we have been working on for Dr. Bruce
Littman and Dr. Frank Marcoux who manage PPL. Now we have a remarkable
team with track records of success in translational medicine and
clinical drug development."
The key members of the Biohaven team include Dr. Declan Doogan who is
Executive Chairman of Biohaven and also a CEO of Portage, Dr. Robert
Berman who is Chief Medical Officer of Biohaven, and the faculty
originators of the licensed Yale intellectual property, Dr. Vlad Coric,
Dr. John Krystal and Dr. Gerard Sanacora.
"Biohaven combines experienced pharmaceutical drug developers and
skilled academic neuroscientists. Preclinical data and clinical studies
performed at Yale, as well as at other academic centers, suggest that
the glutamatergic system is a truly viable target for neuropsychiatric
drug development," says Dr. Declan Doogan. Dr. Bailey of Portage added,
"Biohaven represents a timely opportunity to translate the knowledge
and experience gained at Yale about the role of glutamate in
neuropsychiatric disorders into advances in the clinic. A novel
molecular target with clinical data suggestive of efficacy and the
right team to deliver."
Dr. Doogan has over 30 years of drug development experience primarily with Pfizer,
where his most recent post was as Senior Vice President and Head of
Worldwide Development. He initially joined Pfizer in 1982, where he led
the Zoloft clinical development program. Dr. Doogan also served as
Interim Chief Executive Officer of Amarin Corporation from October 2009
through August 2010 and was recently Chief Medical Officer. A seasoned
drug development executive and life sciences investor, he sits on the
Boards of several biotechnology companies. Dr. Doogan received his
medical degree from Glasgow University in 1975. He is a Fellow of the
Royal College of Physicians and the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine
in the UK.
Dr. Berman has over two decades of research experience in affective and cognitive
disorders. Dr. Berman received a BA from Yale University in Molecular
Biophysics and Biochemistry and an MD degree from the Mount Sinai
School of Medicine. His academic work at the Yale University School of
Medicine is notable for the first study demonstrating the efficacy of
ketamine in the treatment of depression. Dr. Berman has held
positions in the pharmaceutical industry over the past 13 years,
involved in Phase 1 through Phase 3 studies. Among his industry
accomplishments, Dr. Berman led the registrational program to obtain
the first indication with a neuroleptic for the adjunctive treatment of
major depressive disorder. He is currently an Adjunct Professor of
Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine.
Dr. Coric has over 14 years of clinical trial experience first serving as the
Chief of Inpatient Services at the Yale Clinical Neuroscience Research
Unit and then holding positions in clinical development within the
pharmaceutical industry. His academic work at the Yale University
School of Medicine along with Drs. Krystal and Sanacora is notable for
being the first to report anxiolytic and antidepressant properties
associated with certain glutamate modulating agents. Dr. Coric received
a BS from the University of Connecticut where he was an Honors Scholar
in Physiology and Neurobiology. He earned his medical degree at Wake
Forest University School of Medicine and completed his internship,
specialty training and fellowship at Yale. Dr. Coric is a Fellow of the
American Psychiatric Association and has served as President of the
Connecticut Psychiatric Society (a district branch of the American
Dr. Krystal is Chairman of Psychiatry and Robert L. McNeil Jr. Professor of
Translational Research at the Yale School of Medicine. He also serves
as the Chief of Psychiatry at Yale-New Haven Hospital, Director of the
NIAAA Center for the Translational Neuroscience of Alcoholism, and
Director of the Clinical Neuroscience Division, VA National Center for
PTSD. Dr. Krystal received his BA from the University of Chicago and
completed his medical degree as well as residency training at Yale. Dr.
Krystal is considered a leading expert in the areas of
psychopharmacology, glutamatergic neurotransmission, alcoholism,
schizophrenia, and post-traumatic stress disorders. He is a member of
the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences,
Past-President of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, and
Editor of Biological Psychiatry (IF=9.25).
Dr. Sanacora is Professor and Director of the Yale Depression Research Clinic. Dr.
Sanacora's work is concentrated largely on elucidating the
pathophysiological mechanisms associated with mood and other
neuropsychiatric disorders. He completed an NIH sponsored Medical
Scientist Training Program at the State University New York at Stony
Brook, earning his Ph.D. in Physiology and Biophysics in 1992 and his
M.D. degree in 1994. He completed his residency and an NIH funded
Neuroimaging Scientist Training Program Fellowship at Yale. Dr.
Sanacora's laboratory has provided several seminal studies highlighting
the contributions of the glutamatergic neurotransmitter system to the
pathophysiology and treatment of mood and anxiety disorders. Reflecting
his contributions to the field, he received the Anna-Monkia Stiftung
international award for the investigation of the biological substrate
and functional disturbances of depression in 2009 and the Joel Elkes
Research Award for Outstanding contributions to Psychopharmacology from
the ACNP in 2011. Dr. Sanacora was elected a Fellow of the American
College of Neuropsychopharmacology in 2012.
Portage is engaged in researching and developing pharmaceutical and
biotech products through to clinical "proof of concept" with an initial
focus on unmet clinical needs. Following proof of concept, Portage will
look to sell or license the products to large pharmaceutical companies
for further development and commercialization.
Portage through its subsidiary holds an exclusive worldwide licence in
non-oncology fields and the know-how relating to the Antennapedia
protein transduction technology developed by Trojantec. Antennapedia
("Antp"), is an unusual protein that allows for the delivery of drugs
into a cell and even into the nucleus which is often the desired site
of action. This protein coupled with a drug may even cross the blood
brain barrier. Portage is developing a research pipeline of Antp-based
drug candidates and evaluating their function and potential as new
therapeutic agents for a variety of non-oncology indications.
Portage management is looking to in license additional products to add
to its portfolio.
For further information, contact Greg Bailey, the Chairman at firstname.lastname@example.org or Kam Shah, Chief Financial Officer, at (416) 929-1806 or email@example.com or visit our website at www.portagebiotech.com
This news release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning
of the U.S. federal and Canadian securities laws. Any such statements
reflect Portage's current views and assumptions about future events and
financial performance. Portage cannot assure that future events or
performance will occur. Important risks and factors that could cause
actual results or events to differ materially from those indicated in
our forward-looking statements.
Portage assumes no obligation and expressly disclaims any duty to update
the information in this News Release.
SOURCE Portage Biotech Inc.