London/Moscow, 10th September 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 further progress on their haematology alliance to produce longer-acting versions of blood factor proteins.
Following an agreement between the parties in May 2012, PBB and PolyTherics undertook a feasibility programme to evaluate the use of PolyTherics’ TheraPEGTM technology to develop a unique long-acting PEGylated* form of Factor VIII (“TheraPEG FVIII”) for the treatment of Haemophilia A (“HA”).
The successful conclusion of this programme has led PBB to exercise an option to take an exclusive, global licence to use TheraPEGTM technology to develop and commercialise a PEG-FVIII product that will be longer acting than the FVIII products currently in use. Haemophilia patients treated with FVIII prophylactically require treatment on average 3 times a week. A longer-acting FVIII therefore will enable less frequent dosing of the product and thus greater convenience for patients, especially those patients using FVIII for regular prophylaxis against bleeding episodes.
The exercise of the option and signing of the licence has triggered an undisclosed milestone payment to PolyTherics. Under the terms of the licence PolyTherics is also due to receive further development and regulatory milestones as well as royalties on future worldwide product sales.
PBB already has exclusive, global licences to use TheraPEGTM technology to develop and commercialise long-acting forms of Factor IX (for the treatment of Haemophilia B, ”HB”) and Factor VIIa (for the treatment of HA or HB in patients with an immune response to FVIII or FIX respectively, and also for use in trauma situations). The new licence to develop and commercialise TheraPEGTM FVIII completes this suite of the most important therapeutic blood factors.
Michael Earl, COO of PBB, said: “We are pleased to have been able to confirm that the significant increases in half-life we have seen with TheraPEGTM Factors VIIa and IX can also be shown with TheraPEGTM Factor VIII. The benefits of prophylaxis for patients with more severe forms of haemophilia are well established, and the development of this further product will make patients’ lives simpler and enhance compliance, whilst providing a significant commercial opportunity for our alliance with PolyTherics.”
“Progression of a TheraPEGTM Factor VIII is an exciting development for PolyTherics and our broadening alliance with Pro Bono Bio,” commented John Burt, CEO of PolyTherics. “TheraPEGTM is a proven technology for extending the half-life and enhancing the beneficial characteristics of proteins and therefore enables our partners to develop better biopharmaceuticals to address significant clinical needs.”
*PEG = polyethylene glycol