- Amorfix Also Achieves Second Milestone Under Biogen Idec Agreement -
TORONTO, Oct. 20 /CNW/ - Amorfix Life Sciences, a company focused on
treatments and diagnostics for brain wasting diseases, announced today that
its Disease Specific Epitope (DSE) monoclonal antibody treatments demonstrated
statistically significant improvement in survival over controls in a mouse
model of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).
"The potential for Amorfix's novel DSE approach to treating misfolded
protein diseases has now taken a huge leap forward with these results," said
Dr. Neil Cashman, Chief Scientific Officer of Amorfix. "There are no effective
treatments to arrest ALS progression and we believed a new approach was
needed. Amorfix's preclinical results give us new hope that we are on the
right track to combating this devastating disease."
With these results, Amorfix has achieved the second milestone under the
2006 research, investment and option agreement with Biogen Idec (Nasdaq: BIIB),
by demonstrating effectiveness with the antibody treatments. Amorfix achieved
the first milestone in July 2007 with the development of monoclonal antibodies
that specifically recognize regions on the misfolded superoxide dismutase-1
(SOD1) protein that is widely believed to cause the toxic effects on neurons.
Biogen Idec has an option to license the Amorfix technology for ALS and
would be responsible for completing preclinical and clinical development,
regulatory approvals, manufacturing and commercialization. If the option is
exercised, Amorfix will receive an upfront payment and potential milestone
payments in excess of US$25 million under the license agreement. Amorfix will
also receive royalties on commercial product sales. With the achievement of
this second milestone, Biogen Idec must invest a further US$150,000 in Amorfix
to maintain its rights to license the antibodies for use in ALS.
"Our company was founded on a belief that antibodies could be used to
both diagnose and treat diseases where misfolded proteins were present and it
is a major validation to show DSE monoclonal antibodies are therapeutic in
preclinical models of ALS," said Dr. George Adams, Chief Executive Officer of
Amorfix. "We have initiated our preclinical program for the treatment of
Alzheimer's disease using the same DSE approach and are considering other
diseases where we can apply our technology and expertise."
One in a thousand people are afflicted with ALS, which belongs to a
family of fatal neurodegenerative diseases, which includes Alzheimer's and
Parkinson's diseases. These diseases have aggregated misfolded proteins which
are thought to be a major pathway in the progressive killing of nerve cells.
In ALS, motor neurons are attacked causing neurodegeneration of the brain and
spinal chord. Amorfix's therapeutic approach is based on the premise that the
misfolding and aggregation of SOD1 is a principal agent in the death of motor
neurons in all types of ALS disease. Amorfix believes its antibodies recognize
and neutralize the misfolded SOD1 prior to aggregation and thereby inhibit the
progression of the disease, while leaving normally-folded SOD1 to perform its
anti-oxidant protective function in the body.
Amorfix Life Sciences Ltd. (TSX:AMF) is a theranostics company developing
therapeutic products and diagnostic devices targeting brain-wasting diseases
including ALS, Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease and variant
Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD). Amorfix's proprietary Epitope Protection(TM)
(EP) technology enables it to specifically identify very low levels of
aggregated misfolded proteins (AMP) in a sample of normal protein. Aggregated
misfolded proteins are a common element of many brain wasting diseases and the
ability to identify AMPs and understand their structure and mechanism of
folding are the first steps to developing new treatments for these devastating
diseases. Amorfix's lead programs are a diagnostic blood screening test for
vCJD and a therapy for ALS.
This information release may contain certain forward-looking information.
Such information involves known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other
factors that may cause actual results, performance or achievements to be
materially different from those implied by statements herein, and therefore
these statements should not be read as guarantees of future performance or
results. All forward-looking statements are based on the Company's current
beliefs as well as assumptions made by and information currently available to
it as well as other factors. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance
on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this
press release. Due to risks and uncertainties, including the risks and
uncertainties identified by the Company in its public securities filings,
actual events may differ materially from current expectations. The Company
disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking
statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or
For further information:
For further information: Dr. George Adams, President & Chief Executive
Officer, Amorfix Life Sciences Ltd., Tel: (416) 847-6959, Fax: (416) 847-6899,
email@example.com; James Parsons, Chief Financial Officer, Amorfix Life
Sciences Ltd., Tel: (416) 847-6929, Fax: (416) 847-6899,