WILEX AG: Subsidiary Heidelberg Pharma Signs Option Agreement with Max Delbrück Center
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- Agreement covers various BCMA antibodies developed by Max Delbrück Center
- Heidelberg Pharma starts internal development project for multiple myeloma based on its proprietary ATAC (Antibody Targeted Amanitin Conjugates) technology with BCMA antibodies
Munich, Germany, 19 September 2016 – WILEX AG (ISIN DE000A11QVV0 / WL6 / FSE) today announced that its subsidiary Heidelberg Pharma GmbH signed an exclusive option agreement with the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC) in Berlin covering various BCMA antibodies. Financial details are not disclosed but will not have a material impact on WILEX’ cash guidance.
BCMA (B-cell maturation antigens) is a surface protein that is highly expressed in multiple myeloma cells and to which the selected antibodies specifically bind. Scientists of the Max Delbrück Center developed those BCMA specific antibodies. Heidelberg Pharma has generated several proprietary ATAC molecules with it and generated comprehensive preclinical data. Based on these data, Heidelberg Pharma has selected the lead candidate HDP-101. HDP-101 consists of a BCMA antibody, a specific linker and the toxin Amanitin. Arrangements for formal non-clinical as well as clinical development of HDP-101 have been started.
Preclinical data showed that HDP-101 had strong in vitro antitumor activity and led to complete tumor remission in mouse models for multiple myeloma even at very low doses. In addition, tolerability studies conducted in different in vivo models identified a very favourable therapeutic window. Multiple myeloma is the third most common hematologic cancer and represents a major unmet medical need where new, more effective therapies are urgently needed.
Professor Andreas Pahl, Head of Research and Development at WILEX AG and member of the executive management of Heidelberg Pharma GmbH, said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to demonstrate the potential of our ATAC technology using BCMA antibodies of the Max Delbrück Center. Our early research with these antibodies has been very promising and we are excited to be able to bring forward a candidate, HDP-101, into further development. If all goes as expected HDP-101 will be Heidelberg Pharma’s first ATAC product candidate to enter the clinic. This is a significant achievement for our company which we expect in 2018.”
“We are delighted that Heidelberg Pharma intends to develop a new drug for the treatment of multiple myeloma based on the work of our scientists”, said Professor Martin Lohse, Chair of the Board and Scientific Director of Max Delbrück Center. “Despite significant progress in treating multiple myeloma, the disease is still not curable, and so new approaches, such as that being developed by Heidelberg Pharma, are urgently needed to help this patient population.”
The contract was negotiated in collaboration with Ascenion GmbH, an IP asset management company and technology transfer partner of the MDC.
About Heidelberg Pharma’s proprietary ATAC technology
Antibody drug conjugates (ADCs) combine the high affinity and specificity of antibodies with the potency of cytotoxic small molecules for the treatment of cancer and inflammatory diseases. ATACs are ADCs that are bound to highly potent amatoxin molecules. Amatoxins are small bicyclic peptides naturally occurring in the death cap mushroom. They inhibit mRNA transcription by binding to RNA polymerase II, a mechanism that is crucial for the survival of eukaryotic cells. In preclinical testing, ATACs have been shown to be highly efficacious, overcoming frequently encountered resistance mechanisms and combatting even quiescent tumor cells.
About WILEX and Heidelberg Pharma
WILEX AG is a biopharmaceutical company based in Munich, Germany, that serves as a parent and holding company. The Company’s research and development work is conducted by its subsidiary, Heidelberg Pharma GmbH in Ladenburg. Heidelberg Pharma is focused on developing an innovative ADC technology platform based on the compound Amanitin (ATAC technology) and also provides preclinical drug research and development services. WILEX has diagnostic and therapeutic Phase III drug candidates, which are available for outlicensing. WILEX is listed at the Frankfurt Stock Exchange: ISIN DE000A11QVV0 / WKN A11QVV / Symbol WL6. More information is available at www.wilex.com
About Max Delbrück Center
The Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC) was founded in January 1992 on the recommendation of the German Council of Science and Humanities (“Wissenschaftsrat”) with the goal of linking basic science to clinical research. It was named for Max Delbrück, a physicist, biologist, and Nobel Prize winner. Currently the institute employs more than 1600 people from nearly 60 countries; over 1300 of those are directly involved in research. The MDC’s annual budget is over 80 million Euros, along with substantial third-party funding obtained by individual scientific groups. As is the case with all Helmholtz institutes, the MDC receives 90 percent of its funding from the federal government and 10 percent from Berlin, the state where it resides.
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