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Swiss developer Debiopharm and Yale in licensing deal on inhibitor for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland—In early May, Swiss biopharmadeveloper Debiopharm Group and Yale University announced an exclusive worldwidelicense agreement to advance the development and commercialization of Debio1036, a first-in-class inhibitor for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.
Debiopharm is a global company with a focus on seriousmedical concerns including cancer, and Yale is both an educational and clinicalresearch powerhouse.
Debio 1036 is an orally available small molecule thatantagonizes a key mediator in the inflammation process. This therapeuticallyimportant target is unique in several ways due to its action early on in theinflammatory cascade and its ability to regulate cell growth and apoptosis. TheDebio 1036 project aims at developing inhibitors targeting a fundamentalinflammatory pathway, which plays essential roles in myriad diseasesprogression and severity.
The drug candidate is now in the preclinical developmentprocess, and Yale representatives indicated in a prepared statement that theyare pleased the collaboration has taken shape now to guide Debio 1036 throughboth the preclinical and clinical development phases.
For its part, Debiopharm officials say that Yale'spathbreaking work in dovetailing scientific disciplines key to the drugdiscovery process helped entice the company into this arrangement. Debiopharmspecifically references Yale's leadership in marrying chemistry and biology toidentify and validate lead drug candidates as representing a new approach totreating inflammatory disease.
According to the parties, Debiopharm and Yale had several interactionsregarding technologies available for license. Over time, they say they came toknow what the other party had interest in and had to offer toward therapeuticdevelopment.
"Debio 1036 represents the intersection of interest,opportunity and potential," says Debiopharm Director of Corporate Affairs andCommunication Maurice Wagner. "We anticipate that there will be others suchopportunities as the Debiopharm-Yale relationship expands. The Debio 1036approach is novel in the mechanism it uses to address disease, a method thatcould have broader applications. A number of immune-mediated diseases mightbenefit from this therapeutic approach and are currently being investigated."
Yale's more than 200-year storied history and extensiveresearch capabilities were irresistible to Debiopharm, Wagner adds.
"Yale has depth and sophistication of research; Debiopharmhas the same in drug development and partnering," he says. "Together, [theyare] a very potent combination."
The parties see a future where Debiopharm uses its skill incollaboration to rapidly deploy new drugs to market.
"Whenever Debiopharm in-licenses a molecule, its objectiveis to develop it and to make it available to patients worldwide via a competentpartner disposing of a marketing and sales force," says Wagner. "This appliesin the case of Debio 1036 as well. Our intention is to develop the drug and toregister it in most if not all countries of the world, and to thus make itavailable and affordable both in developed economies and in emergingcountries."
"The relationship with Debiopharm is a stellar example ofthe complementarities between academic discovery and commercial development.This discovery is further evidence of the valuable contributions academicinstitutions can make on behalf of patients. We sincerely believe thisagreement represents the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship betweenYale and Debiopharm for both Debio 1036 and other programs at Yale," addedRichard C. Levin, Yale University's president, in a prepared statement.
Debiopharm likewise expresses high hopes for success whenacademia and forward-thinking pharma partners come together.
"Debiopharm will demonstrate once again that academicresearch partnered with commercialization expertise can come together todevelop unconventional and effective clinical agents to help patients," saysWagner.
 Debiopharm Group is a Swiss-based global biopharmaceuticalgroup of companies with a focus on the development of prescription drugs thattarget unmet medical needs. The group in-licenses, develops and/or co-developspromising biological and small-molecule drug candidates having reached clinicaldevelopment Phases I, II or III, as well as early-stage candidates.
The company says its primary objective is to develop productsfor global registration and maximum commercial potential. Those products arethen out-licensed to pharmaceutical partners for sales and marketing. It isalso active in the field of companion diagnostics with an eye toward theburgeoning field of personalized medicine.
The company also claims that it independently funds theworldwide development of all of its products while providing expertise inpreclinical and clinical trials, manufacturing, drug delivery and formulationand in the area of regulatory affairs.

Debiopharm and Aurigene to develop oncology pathwayinhibitor
LAUSANNE, Switzerland—In April, Debiopharm S.A. signed andagreement with Aurigene Discovery Technologies Ltd., a Bangalore-basedbiotechnology firm, for the development and commercialization of Debio 1142, anovel inhibitor of an undisclosed oncology pathway.
The Debio 1142 project aims to develop inhibitors targetinga key oncology pathway that plays essential roles in various solid tumors,including resistance to chemotherapy, said Dr. Rolland-Yves Mauvernay,president and founder of Debiopharm, in a statement.
"We are very excited about this new collaboration withAurigene. Their business model offers a one-stop solution for structure-guideddrug design, lead optimization and preclinical work," Mauvernay stated.
The two companies have been collaborating for five years,noted CSN Murthy, CEO of Aurigene.
"The relationship between Debiopharm and Aurigenedemonstrates the strategic fit between organizations with complimentaryscientific skills," Murthy stated. "We are happy that we have the opportunityto continue to work with Debiopharm in a unique business model that has beentailor-made to meet each partners' needs."

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