A new life

Neurologix licenses Aegera’s XIAP gene

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FORT LEE, N.J.—In early September, Neurologix finalized an exclusive license agreement with cancer-focused, Montreal-based Aegera Therapeutics for its XIAP (x-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein) gene. The deal provides worldwide rights, excluding China, for the use of the XIAP gene for therapeutic or prophylactic purposes in the treatment of Huntington's disease—with the potential to perhaps explore it for other central nervous system applications in the future.

"We have been very encouraged by our preclinical results to date, which demonstrate that XIAP may not only modify the progression of cell death, but may potentially reverse neuronal dysfunction as well," says John Mordock, president and CEO of Neurologix.

XIAP is an inhibitor of caspases, a protein family involved in apoptosis, and this attracted the interest of Neurologix scientists because of its potential utility as a therapeutic neuroprotective factor.

"Their interest in cancer and ours in CNS conditions seemed like a natural marriage," Mordock notes. "We wish to remain focused on CNS and they really couldn't move into a whole new area like neuroscience, but at the same time they liked the idea of being able to help a really underserved patient population. The foundation of a deal like this is always the commercial aspect, but Aegera really does have sensitivity to the tragic nature of Huntington's and the fact that there is no cure right now."

"[We] continue to believe the inhibitor of apoptosis protein family, discovered by our founders, plays a central role in multiple disease indications," says Dr. Michael Berendt, Aegera president and CEO. "This licensing transaction with Neurologix highlights our strategy of advancing our own clinical and discovery programs, in our core areas of oncology, neuropathic pain and auto-immune/inflammatory diseases, while working with key strategic partners in other areas to accelerate the delivery of new therapeutics and diagnostics for a wide range of human diseases." DDN

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