Medgenics plc, a company based in Misgav, Israel and listed on the Alternative Investment Market in London, has signed a preclinical development and option agreement with an unnamed biopharmaceutical company. The deal will fund the preclinical development of Medgenics’ Biopump protein technology to produce and deliver the blood clotting protein Factor VIII for the sustained treatment of haemophilia.
Medgenics will receive $4 million to work with this partner for one year to test the feasibility of applying its Biopump for the continuous production and delivery of this clotting protein. Additional payments of $3 million are payable on certain technical milestones and if the partner exercises its option to extend the deal through to commercialisation.
The Biopump technology consists of a miniature device that contains the genes needed to generate specific proteins. The device is implanted in the body, where it produces a continuous supply of the protein. The Biopump has demonstrated success in the production of erythropoietin (EPO) in treating renal anemia and interferon alpha in treating Hepatitis C.
Andrew Pearlman, Chief Executive Officer of Medgenics, said, “The fact that this agreement is for a new therapeutic application of our Biopump demonstrates the versatility of our platform technology. It further validates the belief that our platform can be applied to help treat many chronic diseases and will attract further interest from other major partners.”
In a Phase I/II clinical study using a Biopump to produce and deliver EPO in patients with chronic kidney disease, a single administration was shown to provide effective anemia treatment for up to 12 months without any need for additional EPO injections. “We believe our Biopump technology will address many of the current challenges in healthcare and provide an important advance for the treatment of chronic disease,” said Pearlman, adding, “While this first agreement is directed to the treatment of hemophilia, Medgenics is continuing its discussions with other potential partners with a view to signing additional agreements for other indications using different therapeutic proteins.”