Medivir Selects Drug Candidate and Wins EU Patent
Huddinge - Swedish Medivir AB and Peptimmune Inc., Cambridge (USA), have jointly selected an orally active, small molecule inhibitor of the protease enzyme Cathepsin S as a candidate drug (see EuroBiotechNews 4/04). The Cathepsin S programme is a joint-venture between the two companies with a strong research and intellectual property position in the autoimmune and inflammatory disease areas. The programme includes a license to the intellectual property rights to Cathepsin S as a therapeutic target from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and issued and pending patents in the United States, Europe and rest of world.
Cathepsin S plays a significant role in the activation of immune responses. Potential clinical applications of the inhibitors include controlling the initiation or progression of immune system disorders such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, allergic asthma or pain. The project now enters the pre-clinical development with the aim to file an Investigational New Drug application (IND) and to enter clinical phase I trials.
Also in late March the European Patent Office has granted a patent on Medivir AB's herpes project ME-609. The company currently has operational responsibility for development of the project and preparations towards phase III studies are ongoing. Parallel to this, Medivir is seeking a partnership or joint venture for this advanced project. The patent (EP0909498B1) that has been granted in all the EU-15 countries, Switzerland and the new EU member states Slovenia, Liechtenstein, Latvia and Lithuania, extends to 2016. It covers all topical pharmaceuticals that include the antiviral acyclovir and the glucocorticoid hydrocortisone and also claims the use of such products in the treatment of herpes infections.