Mercia EIS Funds

Pro Bono Bio and PolyTherics progress and expand their relationship for the development of improved blood factors

Pro Bono Bio and PolyTherics progress and expand their relationship for the development of improved blood factors

London, UK, 29 May 2012 – Pro Bono Bio Group plc (“PBB”), the international healthcare group, and PolyTherics Limited (“PolyTherics”), a provider of solutions for the development of better biopharmaceuticals, announce progress on their haematology alliance to produce longer-acting versions of blood factor proteins. The lead programme, for the development of TheraPEG™ Factor IX, has shown good technical and scientific progress and the parties have extended their agreement to actively pursue the development of a further blood factor product, TheraPEG™ Factor VIIa. In addition, encouraged by the results achieved with these two programmes they have embarked on a feasibility study to assess the potential of a TheraPEG™ Factor VIII product.

PBB affiliates and PolyTherics have been working together to develop a longer-acting version of Factor IX using PolyTherics’ TheraPEG™ technology to conjugate poly(ethylene) glycol (“PEG”) to the protein. PBB successfully completed a preclinical pharmacology study with TheraPEG™ Factor IX in 2011 and PolyTherics has now transferred its TheraPEG™ PEGylation process for this protein to PBB’s biomanufacturing affiliate to enable the production of larger quantities of this longer-acting blood factor for further development. Completion of the technology transfer process triggered a milestone payment to PolyTherics in April 2012.

The Parties have also recently signed an exclusive global licence agreement to develop and commercialise a PEGylated version of blood factor VIIa, which again uses the PolyTherics’ site-specific TheraPEG™ conjugation technology. This product has successfully completed preclinical pharmacology studies and the TheraPEG™ PEGylation process is now being transferred to enable PBB’s biomanufacturing affiliate to produce material for further development.

PolyTherics is due to receive further development and regulatory milestones as well as royalties on future worldwide product sales under the terms of the TheraPEG™ licence agreements for Factor IX and Factor VIIa. Clinical development of both products is expected to be initiated within the next 18-24 months.
In addition to the two licence agreements, the Parties have signed an exclusive option agreement to develop a PEGylated form of blood factor VIII under a feasibility programme. The option agreement includes a pre-agreed exclusive global licence for TheraPEG™ Factor VIII.

John Mayo, CEO of PBB commented, “Pro Bono Bio has invested heavily in haematology and this partnership, together with our own internal development activity, is now bearing fruit. We are now confident of producing new products with life-changing benefits for haemophiliacs all over the world.”

John Burt, CEO of PolyTherics commented, “Progression of both TheraPEG™ Factor VIIa and TheraPEG™ Factor IX towards the clinic is an exciting development for PolyTherics and completion of the technology transfer reinforces our confidence in TheraPEG™ as an approach to enable the development of better biopharmaceuticals. We work flexibly with companies so that key stages of their programmes, such as technology transfer, can be built into agreements at the point which best suits our partners’ own resources and development strategy”.


Notes to Editors:
About Pro Bono Bio Group plc
Pro Bono Bio Group plc (“PBB”) is an international healthcare company, based on pharmaceutical experience in product development, commercialisation and finance. We partner with specialist service providers to bring the best talent to bear on key unmet medical needs. In doing so we are creating and marketing commercially important new therapies.
Pro Bono Bio launched its first medicine, FLEXISEQ, for the treatment of pain associated with osteoarthritis in 2012 in Germany.

About PolyTherics Ltd
PolyTherics is a privately-owned life sciences technology company that provides technology solutions to enable the development of better biopharmaceuticals.
PolyTherics’ proprietary conjugation technologies, TheraPEG™, CyPEG™ and HiPEG™, have been used extensively to attach polymers, mainly polyethylene glycol (PEG), to specific sites on proteins and peptides to extend their duration of action and, more recently, to produce protein drug conjugates for delivery of a payload to target cells. Products developed using PolyTherics’ technologies have significant advantages, including a better pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic profile, improved stability, and because they are more homogeneous, more efficient and cost-effective manufacture. Following its acquisition of Warwick Effect Polymers in January 2012 PolyTherics can provide two additional polymers, PolyPEG® and GlycoPol®, for the development of better biopharmaceuticals.
PolyTherics has raised over £7.5 million of private capital and is backed by a number of institutional investors, including Imperial Innovations (LON:IVO), Proven Health VCT plc, The Capital Fund, Longbow Growth & Income VCT plc, Oxford Technology VCT 3 plc and Oxford Technology 4 plc, Advantage Enterprise and Innovation Fund, Mercia Funds 1 & 2, and a number of high net worth individuals with funds managed by Longbow Capital LLP. The company has dedicated facilities in London and Coventry, UK, and welcomes enquiries from prospective partners interested in the application of the company’s technologies to therapeutic development programmes.
For more information:
John Burt, PolyTherics
Tel.: +44 (0)20 7691 3580
Tim Watson, College Hill
Tel.: +44 (0)20 7866 7861

Pro Bono Bio
David Dible, Citigate
Tel.: +44(0)20 7282 2949
John Mayo, Pro Bono Bio Tel.: +44 (0)20 7291 5454