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Drug Researchers at Terrapin Technologies, Stanford University Collaborate On New Therapies For Immunological Diseases; Terrapin Also Adds Vice President of Research and Development.

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 10, 1995-- Terrapin Technologies, Inc. and Stanford University today announced that they are collaborating to discover new therapies for the potential treatment of inflammatory, allergic, and autoimmune diseases.

These efforts are based on the pioneering studies of Daria Mochly-Rosen, M.D., associate professor of molecular pharmacology at Stanford, who has identified highly specific modulators of the interaction between two types of key cellular proteins, Protein Kinase C (PKC) and RACK (Receptor for Activated C Kinase). The binding of each PKC to a distinct RACK is believed to result in the proper localization of the PKC within the cell, thereby controlling the PKC's function. Applied to the immune system, regulation of this process has potential value for limiting rejection of organ transplantation and for treating autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis, as well as allergic diseases such as asthma.

"A major advance in our laboratory has been the discovery of both stimulators and inhibitors of specific PKC-RACK subtype interactions, by which we expect to affect only those cells involved in disease and avoid widespread toxicities to healthy cells," explained Dr. Mochly-Rosen. "We believe this will allow research teams to focus on blocking RACK activation associated with responses seen in inflammatory, allergic, and autoimmune diseases."

Under the terms of the collaboration, Terrapin gains the exclusive license to patent filings related to Dr. Mochly-Rosen's discoveries. Terrapin will apply its proprietary molecular fingerprinting technology (TRAP)(TM) to select small molecule drugs that inhibit PKC-RACK interactions largely limited to T-cells.

Terrapin also announced today the appointment of Marvin I. Siegel, Ph.D., as Vice President, Research and Development. In this newly created position, Dr. Siegel, age 48, oversees all in-house as well as collaborative preclinical and clinical development activities for Terrapin. Dr. Siegel comes to Terrapin with more than 20 years of pharmaceutical research management experience at such industry leaders as Schering-Plough (where he served as vice president, biological research) and Burroughs Wellcome Company. He has managed R&D programs for a number of new products, including a nonsedating antihistamine and a topical steroid, as well as recombinant cytokines under development for potential applications in immunological diseases.

"Dr. Siegel's broad-based expertise in pharmaceutical R&D and depth of experience in the field of immunology will be a tremendous asset in our drug discovery efforts, especially as we advance lead compounds through preclinical development and into clinical testing," commented Reinaldo F. Gomez, Ph.D., Terrapin's President and Chief Executive Officer.

Terrapin's most advanced therapeutic programs are focused on the preclinical development of product candidates for the treatment of cancer. TER199 is an orally active molecule that has been shown in animal studies to increase the population of bone marrow cells, as occurs with colony-stimulating factors used to reduce susceptibility to infection following cancer chemotherapy. TER286, a tumor-activated, cancer-destroying compound, has demonstrated in vivo activity against a variety of solid tumors, as well as in a number of human tumor cell lines; by virtue of its unique mechanism, this compound is expected to have far less toxicity than current chemotherapeutic drugs of similar efficacy.

In addition, ongoing programs at Terrapin are applying the Company's proprietary core drug discovery technology to identify orally active small molecules that are functional mimics of specific peptides in interacting with key biological pathways. In Terrapin's diabetes program, Company researchers have discovered a novel family of small molecules that mimic insulin's ability to initiate signal transduction in cells.

Terrapin Technologies, Inc. is a privately held pharmaceutical discovery company with a proprietary molecular fingerprinting technology (TRAP)(TM) which accelerates the discovery of drugs with novel activities and improved specificity. TRAP utilizes a rapid, empirical method for quantitatively classifying molecules according to molecular binding affinities. The Company's R&D programs are broadly applicable to the development of small molecules to treat major human illnesses. Terrapin is located in South San Francisco, California.

CONTACT: Terrapin Technologies

Dr. Reinaldo F. Gomez, 415/244-9303


Burns McClellan

Justin Jackson, 415/399-4525
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Apr 10, 1995
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