He collaboration is funded by the Israel-U.S. binational BIRD Foundation
Jerusalem Israel and North Potomac, Maryland – June 24, 2009 – Atox Bio Ltd., a subsidiary of Yissum Research Development Company Ltd.,and Fast-Track Drugs & Biologics LLC today announced the initiation of a joint R&D program to continue the development of Atox Bio’s novel mechanism-based immunomodulator peptide, AB103, for the treatment of sepsis and septic shock. The collaboration includes advanced pre-clinical studies and a Phase I clinical trial to be performed at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, U.S.A. The collaborative R&D program has won the support of the Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development Fund (BIRD) for the amount of $575,000.
AB103 is a novel mechanism-based immunomodulator that attenuates the excessive Th1 cytokine responses caused by the majority of sepsis virulence factors: Gram-positive bacteria, Gram-negative bacteria and superantigen toxins. This exaggerated immune response causes sepsis and septic shock, conditions that lead to high mortality rates. AB103 leaves a basal Th1 response intact; thus, the normal immune response is not compromised. AB103 is a short peptide, originally developed as superantigen antagonist for the treatment of toxic shock. The novel treatment is based on the research of Atox Bio co-founders Drs. Raymond Kaempfer and Gila Arad, from the Faculty of Medicine of the Hebrew University, which was performed with U.S. government funding (US Army, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease).
Uri Danon, Atox Bio’s CEO stated, “This collaboration combines Atox Bio’s break-through technology, the proven regulatory and clinical management capabilities of Fast-Track and the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s strong clinical capabilities. This combined expertise will contribute to the success of the collaborative R&D program.”
Severe sepsis and septic shock are life-threatening illnesses characterized by an excessive systemic host immune response to causative bacteria and their toxins that overwhelms the body, causing 215,000 deaths a year in the U.S. alone. Severe sepsis and septic shock constitute one of the main causes of death in the intensive care unit (ICU). Sepsis is caused primarily by Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Gram-positive bacteria cause severe sepsis and septic shock both by secreting superantigens and via components of their cell walls. Superantigens are lethal toxins, potent activators of Th1 cytokines that have acute effects on the immune system, causing severe sepsis, septic and toxic shock. Despite antimicrobial agents and optimal supportive care, mortality from sepsis is still over 30%. The sole approved adjunctive treatment for severe sepsis and septic shock is Xigris® which reduces mortality by 6%, leaving a major unmet medical need.
About Atox Bio
Atox Bio Ltd. is a privately-held biotechnology company that develops therapeutics for treatment of diseases mediated by an excessive Th1 cytokine response. The company focuses on development of a novel mechanism-based immunomodulator that acts broadly to attenuate excessive immune responses underlying disease in a wide range of therapeutic applications: autoimmune diseases, severe sepsis/septic shock, and lethal influenza, all based on the same technology platform. These applications answer unmet medical needs. Atox Bio is located in Jerusalem, Israel and is a spin-off of Yissum, the technology transfer company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. For more information, please visit http://www.atoxbio.com
About Fast-Track Drugs & Biologics
Fast-Track Drugs & Biologics LLC is a contract research organization (CRO) providing strategic planning, clinical trial and regulatory support services to the pharmaceutical and biotech industries for the development and licensure of vaccines and therapeutics for human diseases.Fast-Track is working for the private sector in the U.S., Israel, and Japan as well as with the Federal sector in the U.S. (NIH, CDC, DoD, DARPA). Fast-Track is based in Maryland, USA. For more information, please visit http://www.fasttrackresearch.com/
About the BIRD Foundation
The BIRD Foundation’s mission is to stimulate, promote and support industrial R&D of mutual benefit to the U.S. and Israel. BIRD supports approximately 20 projects annually- in all areas of technology- with a total investment of around $11 million per year. Since the establishment of the Foundation 31 years ago BIRD has invested over $245 million in 740 projects, which have produced sales of over $8 billion.
Yissum Research Development Company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Ltd. was founded in 1964 to protect and commercialize the Hebrew University’s intellectual property. Products based on Hebrew University technologies that have been commercialized by Yissum currently generate $1.2 billion in annual sales. Ranked among the top technology transfer companies in the world, Yissum has registered 6100 patents covering 1750 inventions; has licensed out 480 technologies and has spun out 65 companies. Yissum’s business partners span the globe and include companies such as Novartis, Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Intel, Teva and many more. For further information please visit www.yissum.co.il.
Media Liaison, Yissum Ltd.