LAVAL, QC, Oct. 28, 2013 /CNW/ - BELLUS Health Inc. (TSX: BLU) ("BELLUS Health" or the "Company"), a drug
development company focussed on rare diseases, today announced an
agreement with AmorChem Holdings Inc. ("AmorChem") to develop drug
candidates for the treatment of AL amyloidosis.
"This partnership for AL amyloidosis enables the Company to continue
strengthening its pipeline of rare disease programs that include Kiacta
in Phase III for AA amyloidosis, and clinical-stage Shigamabs for
STEC-related Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome," said Roberto Bellini, Chief
Executive Officer of BELLUS Health. "The transaction is cash neutral
and non-dilutive for BELLUS Health while still providing shareholders a
significant stake in the program."
AL amyloidosis is a rare disease in which proteins build up in various
parts of the body, mainly the kidneys, heart, liver and peripheral
nerves. As these proteins accumulate, they disrupt the structure and
function of the affected tissues and organs leading to organ failure
and eventually, death. The median survival time of patients with AL
amyloidosis is one to two years from diagnosis. Currently, there is no
specific treatment for the disease; patients are treated with high dose
chemotherapy or stem cell transplant. AL amyloidosis affects
approximately 15,000 patients in the United States and Europe.
As part of the co-development agreement, BELLUS Health will provide
proof-of-concept data, know-how and expertise. AmorChem will fund the
synthesis to be done at NuChem Therapeutics inc. and the biological
testing to confirm the compounds' potential in established models of AL
"We are excited to work with BELLUS Health and leverage our expertise as
an efficient and effective contributor to scientifically-innovative
projects that have the potential to address a significant, unmet
medical need," said Inès Holzbaur, general partner at AmorChem.
"AmorChem is very gratified to be able to bring together the expertise
of three groups in a joint effort such as this one, and especially in
the field of rare disease such as AL amyloidosis," said Elizabeth
Douville, general partner at AmorChem.
About BELLUS Health (www.bellushealth.com)
BELLUS Health is developing a portfolio of drugs for rare diseases
including Kiacta in Phase III for AA Amyloidosis, clinical stage
Shigamabs for STEC-related Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (sHUS) and
research-stage drug candidates for AL amyloidosis. The Company's lead
program KIACTA™ is currently in a Phase III Confirmatory Study for the
treatment of AA amyloidosis, an orphan indication resulting in renal
dysfunction that often rapidly leads to dialysis and death. KIACTA™ is
partnered with global private equity firm Auven Therapeutics.
About AmorChem L.P. (www.amorchem.com)
AmorChem L.P. is a venture capital fund located in Montreal focused on
investing in promising life science projects originating from
Quebec-based universities and research centres. The principal limited
partners of this fund are Investissement-Québec, FIER Partenaires,
Fonds de solidarité FTQ and Merck & Co. This fund is the latest
addition to the GeneChem portfolio of funds, a fund manager in
existence since 1997. AmorChem's innovative business model involves
financing research-stage projects to enable them to reach pre-clinical
proof-of-concept ("POC") in a semi-virtual mode within 18-24 months.
The fund seeks to generate returns through a two-pronged exit strategy:
sell projects having reached POC to large biotechnology or
pharmaceutical companies; or bundle them into new spin-out companies.
AmorChem using external resources will manage the projects. To that
effect, AmorChem has established a strategic partnership with the
Biotechnology Research Institute in order to access its R&D platforms.
In addition, to enabling projects requiring small molecules as tools or
drug leads, AmorChem has founded NuChem Therapeutics Inc., a medicinal
chemistry contract-research company.
About NuChem Therapeutics Inc. (www.nuchemtherapeutics.com)
NuChem Therapeutics Inc. is a medicinal chemistry contract-research
company wholly-owned by AmorChem. With laboratories situated at the
Biotechnology Research Institute in Montreal, the company is led by Dr.
Daniel Guay, formerly of Merck Canada and the Institut de recherche en
immunologie et cancérologie (IRIC).
Forward Looking Statements
Certain statements contained in this news release, other than statements
of fact that are independently verifiable at the date hereof, may
constitute forward-looking statements. Such statements, based as they
are on the current expectations of management, inherently involve
numerous risks and uncertainties, known and unknown, many of which are
beyond BELLUS Health Inc.'s control. Such risks include but are not
limited to: the ability to obtain financing, the impact of general
economic conditions, general conditions in the pharmaceutical industry,
changes in the regulatory environment in the jurisdictions in which the
BELLUS Health Inc. does business, stock market volatility, fluctuations
in costs, and changes to the competitive environment due to
consolidation, achievement of forecasted burn rate, achievement of
forecasted clinical trial milestones, and that actual results may vary
once the final and quality-controlled verification of data and analyses
has been completed. The length of KIACTATM Phase III Confirmatory Study is dependent upon many factors including
clinical sites activation, patient enrolment rate, patient drop-out
rate and occurrence of clinical endpoint events. Consequently, actual
future results may differ materially from the anticipated results
expressed in the forward-looking statements. The reader should not
place undue reliance, if any, on any forward-looking statements
included in this news release. These statements speak only as of the
date made and BELLUS Health Inc. is under no obligation and disavows
any intention to update or revise such statements as a result of any
event, circumstances or otherwise, unless required by applicable
legislation or regulation. Please see the Company's public fillings
including the Annual Information Form of BELLUS Health Inc. for further
risk factors that might affect the Company and its business.
SOURCE: BELLUS Health Inc.
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