BIOLINERX/UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS TO DEVELOP APOPTOSIS AGENT.
BioLineRx Ltd. (TASE:BLRX), Israel's leading drug development company, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have announced that they have entered into an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement for the research, development and commercialization of BL-4030, a small molecule for the treatment of cancer. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. By activating a cell death specific protein, BL- 4030 induces apoptosis (cell death) in cancer cells. With this partnership, BioLineRx further strengthens its promising therapeutic pipeline to include 15 compounds.
"BL-4030 has the potential to be an important targeted therapy for certain cancers," commented Morris C. Laster, MD, CEO of BioLineRx. "The in-license of BL-4030 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign also marks our first collaboration with a U.S. university. We feel this is an additional validation of the drug development platform we have created, and look forward to expanding our ties with the research community in the U.S. through in-licensing additional promising candidates."
"BL-4030, developed by Professor Paul J. Hergenrother from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Illinois, holds a promise of delivering personalized medicine to treat multiple types of cancer," stated Roger W. VanHoy, Senior Technology Manager, Office of Technology Management (OTM), of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "We are excited to partner with BioLineRx and see our program continue down the path towards the clinic with the goal of helping millions of people worldwide."
BL-4030 is a small molecule designed to induce apoptosis in certain malignant tumors. The novel drug activates a specific protein called procaspase 3 that induces cell death once activated. BL-4030 takes advantage of the fact that procaspase 3 levels are highly elevated in certain cancers, and therefore, activation of procaspase 3 is predicted to kill only malignant cells and spare normal cells that have low levels of the apoptotic protein. Therefore, BL-4030 may have the promise of being effective with minimal toxicity. Cancers with elevated levels of procaspase 3 include lung and breast cancer, certain lymphomas, melanoma, and certain liver and nervous system cancers.
Preclinical trials showed that BL-4030 activates procaspase 3 and is able to induce death of lung and colon cancerous cells in vitro. In addition, BL-4030 was able to reduce the growth of renal and lung tumors in in vivo models without causing any overt toxicity. In addition, cell culture experiments showed that BL-4030 is particularly effective in cells with high levels of its target - procaspase 3. Therefore, the patient's response to the drug could be predicted a priori based on the levels of procaspase 3 in the tumor. Thus, BL-4030 could mark the beginning of predictive medicine for a variety of cancer types.
About the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a world-class institution with a history of ground-breaking research, boasting twenty-one Nobel laureates among its faculty and alumni, and highly competitive national rankings. Annually, the university invests more than $500 million on research expenditures, placing it among the United State's top engines of innovation.
For more information, visit http://www.uiuc.edu or call 217/359-1435.
BioLineRx, a clinical stage drug development company traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE:BLRX), is dedicated to building a robust pipeline of promising therapeutics for unmet medical needs. The company's leading programs are for schizophrenia and treatment of damaged heart tissue post-myocardial infarction. Additional products under development include compounds for the treatment of cancer and CNS, cardiovascular, metabolic, infectious and autoimmune diseases.
BioLineRx advances projects from early stage discovery and lead generation to advanced clinical trials, regulatory approval and marketing. Partnering with researchers, universities and biotech companies to further the commercialization of promising compounds, BioLineRx aims to enrich the pipeline of large pharmaceutical companies seeking their next blockbuster drugs. 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, visit http://www.biolinerx.com or call 212/362-1200.