NasVax and Ramot Announce Licensing Agreement on Novel Immunotherapies for Treatment of Alzheimer's Disease

NasVax and Ramot at Tel Aviv University Ltd. announce today that they have signed an agreement on the research, development and commercialization of antibodies and vaccines (the BBS1 Technology) for the treatment and prevention of Alzheimer's disease (AD)

Ness Ziona, Israel, and Tel Aviv, Israel | February 24, 2009 | NasVax Ltd. and Ramot at Tel Aviv University Ltd. announce today that they have signed an agreement on the research, development and commercialization of antibodies and vaccines (the BBS1 Technology) for the treatment and prevention of Alzheimer's disease (AD).

Under the terms of the agreement, NasVax will have the exclusive rights to develop and commercialize Ramot’s proprietary BBS1 technology (a monoclonal antibody [MAb] as well as a vaccine designed to elicit specific antibodies), which was developed by Prof. Beka Solomon and her research team at Tel Aviv University. This BBS1 technology has demonstrated initial efficacy and safety in animal models of AD.

Erez Chimovits, CEO of NasVax Ltd, notes that, “NasVax is excited about the opportunity to develop this BBS1-based product. Bringing in the BBS1 program is part of the implementation of our strategy to diversify our product portfolio specifically into the growing field of immunotherapy.”

"This agreement encompasses an opportunity to bring a novel AD therapy to a demanding market in need of disease-modifying therapies," says Ze'ev Weinfeld, CEO of Ramot. "Such agreements bring academic achievements to a company that can transform them into product candidates for clinical development." Professor Ehud Gazit, VP R&D of Tel Aviv University and the Chairman of Ramot, added that "this is another example of the intensive commercialization activities of Ramot in the pharmaceutical field and, particularly, in the treatment of central nervous system disorders."

AD is a progressive neurodegenerative disease and the most common form of dementia in the elderly (the third leading cause of death in recent times). The market for AD therapy is expected to grow continuously for the foreseeable future due to the aging population in developed countries, reaching a market of >$10 billion. This market is characterized by a growing diagnosed patient population still being treated with symptom-based therapies that do not halt the underlying cause of the disease. Disease-modifying therapies are a critical unmet need in this market, and agents with this potential would dramatically expand the AD market.

AD is characterized by overproduction of amyloid-β peptide (Aβ) derived from its precursor protein (APP). Aβ accumulate as fibrils in senile plaques within the brain of AD subjects. The most promising approach to date for reducing the Aβ burden in AD patients has been the use of MAb and vaccine-directed Aβ immunotherapies. The BBS1 technology is a disease modifier aimed at reducing Aβ accumulation. BBS1 is an immunotherapy (MAb or vaccine) that targets the first step in Aβ production by blocking its processing site on APP. Data to date indicate that this approach appears to overcome some of the shortcomings of other Ab-based immunotherapies, which include possible increases in brain inflammation and micro-hemorrhage. Thus, BBS1-based immunotherapy is a promising new approach for AD.

Professor Beka Solomon is a world leader in AD research and a pioneer in this immunotherapeutic approach to AD. She is Head of the Neuro-immunology Laboratory at TAU, with over 100 publications and more than 10 issued patents. She was awarded the prestigious Zenith Award of the Alzheimer Association and the Neuro-immunology Award from the Dana Foundation. In 2007, Prof. Solomon was elected by Scientific American as one of the 50 leading scientists in the world

About NasVax Ltd.

NasVax works in the field of developing prophylactic vaccines and immunotherapeutics. It has developed a unique technology, VaxiSomeTM, for improving vaccines. VaxiSome acts as an adjuvant, which in a vaccine formulation stimulates increased antibody and cellular immune responses, as well as a delivery system, which enables delivery by injection and intranasal routes. The lead product is adjuvanted influenza vaccine, which is in clinical development by both routes of administration.
NasVax recently concluded an agreement to purchase Protea Vaccine Technologies. Protea works in the field of developing new vaccines against Streptococcus pneumoniae, in particular a third-generation group-common vaccine that would be effective against pneumococcal strains in general.

About Tel Aviv University

Founded in 1963, Tel Aviv University is one of Israel’s foremost research and teaching universities. Located in Israel’s cultural, financial and industrial heartland, Tel Aviv University is at the forefront of basic and applied research in a wide variety of scientific research disciplines, including engineering, exact sciences, life sciences, medicine, social sciences, management, law, humanities, and the arts. More information is available online at www.tau.ac.il.

About Ramot at Tel Aviv University Ltd.

Ramot is the technology transfer company of Tel Aviv University. Ramot fosters, initiates, leads and manages the transfer of new technologies from university laboratories to the marketplace by performing all activities relating to the protection and commercialization of inventions and discoveries made by faculty, students and other researchers. Ramot provides a dynamic interface connecting industry to leading-edge science and innovation, offering new business opportunities in a broad range of emerging markets. For more information, visit www.ramot.org.

SOURCE: NasVax

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