Nostrum Pharmaceuticals Obtains Worldwide Licensing Rights From Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH) For Clinical Development Of A Novel Clot Busting Therapeutic Protein

KENDALL PARK, N.J., July 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Nostrum Pharmaceuticals Inc., a privately-held company based in Kendall Park, New Jersey, announced today that it has obtained a worldwide license from Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH), Chandigarh, India, to carry out clinical development and commercialization of a novel clot busting therapeutic protein.

Nostrum will develop this therapeutic protein in association with Symmetrix Pharmaceuticals, Inc., an affiliate of Nostrum Pharmaceuticals. Symmetrix Pharmaceuticals Inc., a biopharmaceuticals company also based in New Jersey, was founded by Dr. Yatindra Prashar who is a renowned biotechnologist. Dr. Prashar was scientific cofounder of Gene Logic, Inc., a Gaithersburg, Maryland based biotechnology company.

IMTECH, which is one of the premier institutes governed by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Government of India, is a premier biology research institute in India focusing on emerging areas of biotechnology and microbiology. With over one hundred Ph.D. students and several postdoctoral scholars, it is one of the best funded and a highly reputed biotechnology research institute in India that has an enviable infrastructure consisting of a wide array of the latest, state of the art equipment and instruments required for biotechnology and microbiology research.

The therapeutic protein being licensed by Nostrum is known as Clot Specific Streptokinase (CSSK), which was developed at IMTECH by Dr. Girish Sahni, Director of the institute. CSSK is an engineered protein produced by recombinant DNA technology. The cDNA coding for streptokinase has been fused with the cDNA of another naturally occurring human blood protein. The resulting hybrid protein is a product that has a very high affinity for the blood clot while it does not have any plasminogen lysis property. However, upon binding to the blood clot protein fibrin, the hybrid protein is lysed into its individual component proteins. As a result, streptokinase is released and is active only in the vicinity of the blood clot. Therefore, the common problem of blood thinning associated with streptokinase due to general and widespread plasminogen lysis in the blood that can cause severe bleeding and hence death in some cases, will be avoided when CSSK is used. IMTECH has obtained a European patent for this molecule and the Indian and US patents are pending.

"Development of CSSK is the result of remarkably ingenuous protein engineering research at IMTECH and we are very excited about taking this therapeutic protein into clinical development since CSSK works in a highly clot specific manner and hence overcomes the major problem of blood thinning that is otherwise associated with streptokinase," said Dr. Nirmal Mulye, President and founder of Nostrum Pharmaceuticals. He further added, "We are excited and honored to have this relationship with one of the premier research institutes in India with a large pool of highly talented scientists lead by Dr. Sahni."

Dr. Girish Sahni, director IMTECH, said "Nostrum, a technology driven company, has the focus and agility of a small company, and access to intellectual and financial resources to pursue clinical development of a molecule that has a huge commercial potential in the market worldwide". He added, "We are highly impressed with these talented scientists turned entrepreneurs, Dr. Mulye and Dr. Prashar, who recognize the potential of this invention and are capable of spearheading the international development of a molecule of such commercial and medical importance."

Mr. Kapil Sibbal, Minister of Science and Technology, Government of India, while speaking on the occasion, expressed his happiness on this tie-up and opined that such agreements on new and improved drugs signal the coming of age of India's scientific and technological capabilities. The Honorable Minister noted that the research being carried out by many of the R&D institutions are now coming at par with those from globally recognized companies. Mr. Sibbal observed that IMTECH is one such example of having world class creative ambience which is reflective in its achievements such as clot specific streptokinase.

Mr. Sibbal was particular happy to note that this tie-up represents a "brain gain" for India. Both Dr. Nirmal Mulye and Dr. Yatinder Prashar are India born American citizens who, Mr. Sibbal noted, exude a strong love and desire to serve their motherland. He termed it as a happy augury and hoped many more such tie-ups would follow.

Dr. Raghunath Mashelkar, the Director General, India's Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, complimented all the scientists and technical staff engaged in development of this technology which is indeed a cutting edge one. According to him, it represents a paradigm change in the working of government sector Indian R&D labs from primary basic research driven programs to the ones which can be commercially exciting as well. He expressed his confidence that like earlier successful developments of clot blusters, this too would be a huge success for IMTECH.

Nostrum Pharmaceuticals is involved in the development and commercialization of products using novel drug delivery systems for generic and branded pharmaceuticals in the United States. Nostrum has recently acquired a large stake in a public company, Synovics Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (SYVC.OB), through which it plans to commercialize various pharmaceuticals products.

Earlier today in New Delhi, India, Nostrum signed the licensing deal with IMTECH at the headquarters of CSIR. The signing function was attended by Mr. Kapil Sibbal, Minister of Science and Technology, Government of India, Dr. Raghunath Mashelkar, Director General, CSIR, Dr. Girish Sahni, Director, IMTECH, Dr. Nirmal Mulye, President, Nostrum Pharmaceuticals Inc., and Dr. Yatindra Prashar, President, Symmetrix Pharmaceuticals Inc. The terms of the licensing were not disclosed.

Nostrum Pharmaceuticals Inc.

CONTACT: Nirmal Mulye, Ph.D., President and Chairman of the Board ofNostrum Pharmaceuticals, Inc., +1-732-422-0416,

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