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Medivir AB (STO:MVIRB), Stockholm, Sweden, has signed two new pharmaceutical license agreements and an extension of the ongoing research collaboration in hepatitis C (HCV) with Tibotec Pharmaceuticals Ltd.

In the first agreement, Medivir has outlicensed its preclinical human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) protease inhibitor project and in the second agreement provided a license for the MIV-210 polymerase inhibitor compound for HIV and hepatitis B (HBV). "Our collaboration with Tibotec has proven to be very successful and we are delighted that Tibotec wishes to further strengthen the links between the two companies. The agreements which have been entered today are an important strategic milestone for Medivir and markedly enhance our company's position," commented Lars Adlersson.

Success in the HCV research collaboration leads to extended research support Medivir and Tibotecs' antiviral project in the HCV area continues to advance. Progress has been made in the joint preclinical research, and Tibotec has agreed to extend the collaboration agreement and fund research to at least July 2007. The designated candidate drug is rapidly progressing to phase I and research is currently directed to identification of suitable follow-on compounds.

"Tibotec is striving towards becoming a major player in the field of hepatitis. The HCV drug candidate selected in collaboration with Medivir looks encouraging with regard to pharmacokinetics, potency, and resistance patterns. The development of this compound is moving rapidly forward," said Roger Pomerantz, president of Tibotec.

New license agreement in the protease field

The HIV protease inhibitor project is targeted at inhibition of the HIV protease enzyme and is in the pre-clinical research phase. Medivir, together with Tibotec, will continue to develop compounds within the project towards a future designation of candidate drugs. Medivir's continued research work in the project is financially supported by Tibotec.

The HIV protease inhibitor project is valued atEUR 64m, of which EUR 2m is a license fee due on signing of the agreement. Medivir is entitled to royalties from worldwide sales of future products, except for the Nordic market where Medivir has retained marketing rights. "The compounds which Medivir has thus far generated in the HIV protease inhibitor project show promising properties and we are delighted at this opportunity to partner with Tibotec", said Medivir's CEO Lars Adlersson. "This is Medivir's second agreement with Tibotec within the protease field. The project has gone from concept to outlicensing within one year. This agreement reflects the productivity of our protease inhibitor factory and its commercial potential".

Medivir HIV franchise AB: New license agreement for MIV-210

In conjunction with the divestment of Medivir's polymerase inhibitor franchise administered by Medivir HIV Franchise AB, a license agreement has been signed with Tibotec for the antiviral MIV-210 in relation to the Hepatitis B (HBV) and HIV. The total deal value amounts to USD 30m, of which USD 0.5m is a license fee upon signing the agreement. Medivir is entitled to royalties from worldwide sales of a future product, except for the Nordic market where Medivir has retained marketing rights. "Apart from the HIV area, recent research supports MIV-210 for the treatment of Hepatitis B, and the field itself has garnered more interest", comments Medivir's CEO Lars Adlersson. "Outlicensing MIV-210 is a first and very important step in our strategy to focus our investments on our preclinical protease projects and our phase III Lipsovir project."

The Medivir group

Medivir develops pharmaceuticals for widely prevalent diseases with proteases as the target enzyme. The goal is to become a self-sustaining, profitable, research-based pharmaceutical company with proprietary products on the market. The company is located in Huddinge, Sweden and Chesterford Research Park, Essex, England.

The group comprises Medivir AB, subsidiary Medivir UK Ltd, Medivir HIV Franchise AB and Medivir Personal AB. At the end of December 2005, the group had 133 employees. In 1996 Medivir was listed on the O list at the Stockholm Stock Exchange (Stockholmsborsen).

Medivir's research portfolio embraces projects on hepatitis C, labial herpes, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), asthma, multiple sclerosis (MS). Medivir has seven individual projects in development, of which one is entering phase III.

Medivir HIV Franchise AB is focused on the development and divestment of HIV/HBV projects and examining the clinical strategy for shingles drug MIV-606.

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Publication:Worldwide Biotech
Date:Aug 1, 2006

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