VANCOUVER, Sept. 24 /CNW/ - iCo Therapeutics Inc. (TSX-V: ICO) is pleased to announce that the company has signed a collaboration development agreement with The Consortium for Parasitic Drug Development (CPDD) for the research and development of iCo's oral drug delivery technology for the treatment of neglected diseases such as leishmaniasis and trypanosomiasis. Initial funding of USD $182,930 will be provided for formulation optimization for tropical conditions.
"iCo Therapeutics, in partnership with CPDD and employing a proprietary drug delivery system licensed from the University of British Columbia, is committed to improving the health of millions afflicted with visceral leishmaniasis worldwide, ultimately saving thousands of lives", stated Andrew Rae, President and CEO of iCo Therapeutics. "iCo is extremely pleased to acknowledge the support and assistance of CPDD in furthering iCo's efforts in this area. We feel our collaboration creates a win-win situation for all parties involved."
The proprietary drug delivery technology allows iCo to reformulate select parenteral administered drugs for oral delivery with the goal of greatly improving access to care and expanding the targeted markets, while at the same time retaining all rights to iCo-009 and the significant anti-fungal and additional markets the drug may one day serve.
"CPDD's parasitic expertise and iCo's drug development acumen are highly complementary", stated Dr. Donald Buell, MD, an infectious disease expert and member of iCo's Scientific Advisory Board, "This oral delivery technology has the potential to create a breakthrough in the treatment of neglected diseases."
iCo has demonstrated proof of concept of the delivery technology with Amphotericin B, a potent anti-fungal and anti-parasitic drug with over 50 years of clinical history. Amphotericin B is currently only available via intravenous formulations for the treatment of systemic fungal and parasitic infections, which can have safety issues including infusion-related side effects and potential kidney toxicity. In animal models, oral administration of iCo's oral Amphotericin B has shown significant anti-fungal and anti-parasitic activity with no observable kidney toxicity as assessed histologically and by plasma creatinine concentrations. The oral drug delivery technology was invented by Drs. Kishor & Ellen Wasan at the University of British Columbia. ("UBC"). Dr. John Clement (iCo) and Dr. Kishor Wasan (UBC) are co-Principal Investigators on the project.
About the Consortium for Parasitic Drug Development (CPDD)
The CPDD is a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grantee, developing drugs for the treatment of neglected diseases. Since the year 2000, Richard R. Tidwell, Ph.D., the Director of CPDD, has been awarded $58.5 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop new drugs to fight human African trypanosomiasis or HAT (sleeping sickness) and leishmaniasis, two neglected diseases that are infecting and killing millions of people in developing countries. For more information on the CPDD please visit their website at http://www.thecpdd.org/.
About Visceral Leishmaniasis
In addition to treating systemic fungal infections in the developed world, iCo's oral drug delivery technology has the potential to be used in treating visceral leishmaniasis (VL), a parasite contracted by approximately 2 million people each year, with 12 million presently infected worldwide. If left untreated, VL can have a fatality rate of 100% within two years. Approximately 50,000 people die from VL each year. iCo and CPPD previously collaborated on a series of VL studies in which dosages of iCo's oral Amphotericin B resulted in greater than 99% eradication of the parasitic infection associated with VL.
About iCo Therapeutics
iCo Therapeutics Inc. is a Vancouver-based development based company focused on in-licensing drugs with clinical history redosing or reformulating for new or expanded indications. iCo has exclusive worldwide rights to three products. iCo-007, a second generation antisense candidate licensed from Isis Pharmaceuticals, is currently in a Phase I trial in Diabetic Macular Edema patients with compelling early data. iCo-008 is a human monoclonal antibody targeting eotaxin-1 with Phase II clinical history, licensed from AstraZeneca/MedImmune. iCo-009 is a proprietary oral formulation of amphotericin B licensed from the University of British Columbia. To date, iCo has reported positive preclinical results for iCo-009. iCo Therapeutics trades on the TSX-Venture exchange under the symbol "ICO". For more information, visit the company website at: www.icotherapeutics.com
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Forward Looking Statements
Certain statements included in this press release may be considered forward-looking. Such statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from those implied by such statements, and therefore these statements should not be read as guarantees of future performance or results. All forward-looking statements are based on iCo Therapeutics' current beliefs as well as assumptions made by and information currently available to iCo Therapeutics and relate to, among other things, anticipated financial performance, business prospects, strategies, regulatory developments, market acceptance and future commitments. 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 iCo Therapeutics in its public securities filings; actual events may differ materially from current expectations. iCo Therapeutics disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
SOURCE iCo Therapeutics Inc.
For further information: For further information: Business Development: Dr. John Clement, CBO, (604) 602-9414 x 222; Finance: Mr. John Meekison, CFO, (604) 602-9414 x 224; Investor Relations: B&D Capital Partners, Don Mosher, (604) 685-6465