BioLineRx In-Licenses Novel Peptide for the Treatment of Inflammatory Diseases

BioLineRx Ltd, Israel’s leading drug development company, today announced that it has signed a worldwide exclusive license agreement with Yissum Research Development Company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, one of the world's leading technology transfer companies, and Ramot at Tel Aviv University Ltd., the technology transfer company of Tel Aviv University, for the development and commercialization of BL-4020, a novel peptide for the treatment of inflammatory diseases.

JERUSALEM, Israel | Mar 21, 2007 |
BioLineRx Ltd. (TASE:BLRX), Israel’s leading drug development company, today announced that it has signed a worldwide exclusive license agreement with Yissum Research Development Company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, one of the world's leading technology transfer companies, and Ramot at Tel Aviv University Ltd., the technology transfer company of Tel Aviv University, for the development and commercialization of BL-4020, a novel peptide for the treatment of inflammatory diseases. Financial terms of the license were not disclosed.

BL-4020 is a peptide designed to function as an anti-inflammatory agent in various inflammatory diseases such as allergic asthma and colitis. The peptide mimics ManLAM, a protein from the cell surface of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium that causes tuberculosis. ManLAM has been shown to modulate the function of the immune system and suppress various inflammatory diseases. BL-4020, which retains the anti-inflammatory properties of ManLAM, is expected to be effective with low toxicity. In pre-clinical trials conducted at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, BL-4020 has been shown to be effective in a wide variety of animal models of inflammation including asthma, colitis among others.

“Inflammation is the cause of many significant diseases and we believe that BL-4020 offers the potential for a highly effective and safe therapy utilizing a novel mechanism of action,” stated Morris C. Laster, M.D., CEO of BioLineRx. "BL-4020 is a promising addition to our rich pipeline of exciting and innovative drug candidates, and we are pleased to continue our fruitful collaborations with both the Hebrew and Tel Aviv Universities."

BL-4020 was invented by Professor Hillel Bercovier and Ayelet Barenholz, Ph.D., of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Professor Jonathan Gershoni of the Tel Aviv University. BioLineRx plans to submit the project for funding by the Israeli Office of the Chief Scientist through BioLine Innovations Jerusalem (BIJ) under the National Biotech Grant received in November 2004.

Nava Swersky Sofer, President and CEO of Yissum, commented “Professors Bercovier and Gershoni and Dr. Barenholz's invention holds the promise of dramatically improving patient care. We are excited to once again partner with BioLineRx as they have the resources and abilities to pursue the promise of this compound.”

Currently, inflammatory diseases are treated mainly with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or with steroids, both of which can have severe side-effects. NSAIDs can cause serious gastrointestinal problems when prescribed for long term use and have been associated with about 20% to 30% of all hospital admissions and deaths due to stomach ulcers in patients aged 65 and older. Steroids can induce hormonal imbalance, cause osteoporosis, stomach ulcers, mood swings and a multitude of other adverse effects. BL-4020 is expected to be a promising treatment for numerous inflammatory diseases currently treated with NSAID’s and steroids, without causing the undesirable side effects.

About BioLineRx

BioLineRx, a clinical stage drug development company publicly traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (BLRX), is dedicated to building a robust pipeline of promising therapeutics for unmet medical needs. The Company’s current product pipeline consists of 12 compounds, 3 of which are in or about to start clinical trials. Its lead product, BL-1020, for the treatment of schizophrenia, successfully completed Phase 1 clinical trials; BL-1040, for the treatment of damaged heart tissue post myocardial infarction, is expected to enter the clinic in the second quarter of 2007. Additional products under development include compounds for the treatment of cancer and CNS, cardiovascular, metabolic, infectious and autoimmune diseases.

Partnering with researchers, universities and biotech companies to further the commercialization of promising compounds, BioLineRx advances projects from early stage discovery and lead generation to advanced clinical trials, regulatory approval and marketing. The Company was founded in 2003 by leaders in the Israeli life science arena including Teva Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Giza, Pitango, Hadasit and the Jerusalem Development Authority. For more information, please visit www.biolinerx.com.

This press release contains "forward-looking statements." These statements include words like "may," "expects," "believes," “scheduled” and "intends," and describe opinions about future events. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of BioLineRx to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements.

SOURCE: BioLineRx Ltd.

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