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Pharming licenses peptides.

Pharming Group N.V. (Leiden, The Netherlands; 31 071 5247 432) has licensed its technology with respect to small antibacterial peptides to AM-Pharma (Leiden, The Netherlands; 31 071 5210 760), a recently established company focusing on novel antimicrobial products. As part of the agreement, Pharming will take an equity stake in AM-Pharma. Financial details were not disclosed.

As a spin-off of Pharming's development of products for systemic infections, certain small peptides were developed and patent applications were filed, a project in collaboration with the Department of Infectious Diseases of the Leiden University Medical Center. These peptides show potent antimicrobial action and are highly synergistic to the current products under development by AM-Pharma.

George J.M. Hersbach, Pharming's president and chief executive officer, explains: " Our focus is on the development, production and commercialization of human therapeutic proteins. As a result, the development of small synthetic peptides is not a core activity. However, we believe that there is great promise in these products and therefore we consider the agreement with AM-Pharma as an excellent opportunity to add value to the further development of these products in a dedicated company."

Ewald Keijser, chief executive officer of AM-Pharma, adds: "Pharming's compounds fit nicely in our growing portfolio of antimicrobial peptides. This addition will enable us to become a major player in the field of novel antimicrobial products, comprising pharmaceuticals, diagnostics and preservatives."

As a result of the agreement between the two companies, Rein Strijker, senior vice president corporate development and strategy with Pharming will become a member of the Board of Supervisory Directors of AM-Pharma. Furthermore, Paul Leufkens, currently director product development at Pharming, will be appointed vice president business development at AM-Pharma. Recently, Martin Hessing, formerly with Organon Teknika and TNO, joined AM-Pharma as chief scientific officer.

AM-Pharma focuses on the development of small antimicrobial peptides of human origin. The company was founded in July 2000 as a spin-off from the Free University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Under the supervision of Prof. A. van Nieuw Amerongen, various peptides derived from human saliva were isolated, improved and tested. These natural compounds showed very potent antimicrobial properties, with a broad spectrum of activity against bacteria, fungi and viruses, including several multi resistant strains. AM-Pharma has currently been issued two patents, six additional patent applications are pending.

Pharming focuses on the development, production and commercialization of human therapeutic proteins to be used in highly innovative therapies. The company's product portfolio is aimed at treatments for genetic disorders, blood-related disorders, infectious and inflam-matory diseases, tissue and bone damage, and surgical and traumatic bleeding. Pharming has developed a proprietary production platform of transgenic animals, capable of producing human therapeutic proteins at high levels in their milk.
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Publication:BIOTECH Patent News
Geographic Code:4EUNE
Date:Feb 1, 2001
Words:448
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