Xigen And Auris Medical Enter Into Collaboration And License Agreement

Published: Feb 05, 2004

February 5, 2004 - Xigen and Auris Medical have entered into a far-reaching collaboration and license agreement for the development of novel therapies for ear disorders. Under the terms of the agreement, Auris Medical has obtained a world-wide exclusive license to use Xigen's proprietary intracellular peptides for the development and marketing of pharmaceutical products in the area of ear disorders. In addition, the partners have agreed to collaborate closely in the development of new compounds for the treatment of ear disorders and in pre-clinical and clinical programmes. As part of the collaboration and license agreement, Auris Medical AG has made an up-front payment to Xigen; further payments will be due subject to reaching certain milestones and based on future sales of pharmaceutical products using Xigen's peptides.

The agreement provides Auris Medical access to Xigen's unique know-how in the area of neuroprotective peptides, which are of particular interest for various severe ear disorders like hearing loss or tinnitus. "Xigen’s lead compound D-JNKI-1 has shown excellent otoprotective properties in animal studies so far", said Thomas Meyer, Auris Medical’s founder and Managing Director. "The peptide protects by a significant degree against hearing loss from acute acoustic trauma or from the administration of ototoxic aminoglycosides." D-JNKI-1 is a cell permeable peptide, which blocks the MAPK / JNK caspase signal pathway in apoptosis.

For Xigen, the collaboration with Auris Medical provides the opportunity to access the emerging field of pharmacological inner ear therapies through a specialised and fully dedicated partner. According to Peter Harboe-Schmidt, co-founder and CEO of Xigen, the transaction represents an important step forward for the company: "The collaboration with Auris Medical is part of Xigen's strategy to develop markets for our novel therapeutic concept through selected partners and on our own. We intend to actively pursue further opportunities for strategic collaborations in other specific therapeutic areas of interest."

About Xigen www.xigen.ch

Xigen S.A. is a Swiss biopharmaceutical company focusing on research and development of novel intracellular peptide therapeutics. The company is a spin-off from the University Hospital of Lausanne (CHUV) and was founded in 2002 in Lausanne, Switzerland. Xigen is developing a novel class of intracellular therapeutic drugs with greatly improved specificity compared to existing drugs. The therapeutics consist of short chained, cell-penetrating peptides that very efficiently block undesired proteinprotein interactions. Xigen’s has first targeted the JNK pathway, which is of major importance in programmed cell death (apoptosis). It has been shown to be of key relevance in neurodegenerative disorders such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and sensorineural hearing loss. Xigen’s neuroprotecting peptide drugs are designed to block the JNK pathway to prevent the abnormal death of cells in such degenerative disorders.

About Auris Medical (www.aurismedical.com)

Auris Medical AG is a Swiss start-up company dedicated to the development of pharmaceutical products for the treatment of severe inner ear disorders. The company aims to provide drugs which are delivered locally to the cochlea to act specifically on sensorineural disorders like hearing loss or tinnitus. The company was founded in April 2003 and currently consists of a management company (share capital CHF 2 million) in Lohn, Switzerland, and a research & development company (share capital EUR 0.5 million) in Montpellier, France.

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