Another one for phase I: TK54
LTKfarma announces its creation and names advisory board
July 6 2006 - LTKfarma, a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and marketing cell therapy products derived from modified T-cells to treat leukemia and autoimmune diseases, announced today its creation and the appointment of its advisory board. The company, founded in March 2006, selected the new board members because of their considerable industry experience, which will enable them to provide skills, counsel and governance as LTKfarma accelerates its clinical development.
"The know-how and experience of our advisory board members, coupled with our sound intellectual property portfolio, mean that we can move forward with accelerating the clinical development of our lead product TK54, currently in Phase I/II, and with raising funds for Phase II/III trials," declared Laurent de Narbonne, MD, LTKfarma Chairman.
LTKfarma's IP portfolio is based on an exclusive license granted in March 2006 by the University of Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris VI). Under the terms of this agreement, LTKfarma has exclusive rights to use 31 patents (26 of which have already been granted) grouped into six families. The license grants LTKfarma worldwide rights, in Europe, the US and Japan. The company is currently working on the development and marketing of TK54, a cell therapy product based on modified T-cells. TK54 uses suicide gene technology and could reduce risks linked to graft versus host disease (GVHD), one of the main complications of bone marrow grafts and which results in the death of 20-60 percent of cases according to different estimates. The first applications of TK54 target bone marrow grafts for leukemia sufferers and severe forms of autoimmune diseases such as scleroderma, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
The new board members, all of whom bring complementary skills and experience, are:
Alain Clergeot, MD, Executive MBA/HEC, President of Chugai Pharma France. Tamara Joseph, LLM, JD, Executive Vice-President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Mayne Pharma Ltd, former General Counsel of Transkaryotic Therapeutics and former Vice-President of Biogen Idec. David Klatzmann, University Professor, MD, DSc, Director of the Biology and Therapeutics Laboratory for Immune Pathologies (CNRS/University of Pierre et Marie Curie), head of the Biotherapy Center at the Pitié-La Salpêtrière Hospital. Jean-François Labbé, HEC, former European President of Hoechst Marion Roussel and COO of ProStrakan. Laurent de Narbonne, MD, Executive MBA/HEC, General Manager of Octapharma France, Belgium and Luxemburg, former International Marketing Director at Biogen Idec, and formerly with Parke Davis France. Leo van Wersch, DPharma, and JD, former President of Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals France and Vice-President Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals Europe.
About LTKfarma LTKfarma is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and marketing of cell therapy products derived from modified T-cells in the treatment of leukemia and severe forms of autoimmune pathologies (scleroderma, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis). Incorporated in March 2006, and led by Chairman Laurent de Narbonne, the company is based in the Evry Genopole(R) biotech cluster just south of Paris. LTKfarma has exclusive rights to use 31 patents (26 of which have already been granted) in six families following an exclusive license granted in March 2006 by the University of Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris VI). The license grants LTKfarma worldwide rights, in Europe, the US and Japan. During its creation, LTKfarma carried off the first special jury prize in the 7th National Business and Innovative Technologies Creation Contest organized by the National Minister of Research and France's innovation agency, OSEO ANVAR. The company recently received a laureate in the Senate Tremplins Enterprise Awards, a competition sponsored by France's upper legislative body.
About the technology LTKfarma develops products based on research by Pr David Klatzmann, Director of the Biology and Therapeutics Laboratory for Immune Pathologies (CNRS/University of Pierre et Marie Curie) and head of the Biotherapy Center at the Pitié-La Salpêtrière Hospital, and his collaborators, and by Pr François Lemoine (Faculty of medicine Pierre et Marie Curie) and Dr José Cohen (Inserm). TK54 is a cell therapy product made up of modified T-cells, which express "suicide" genes. These genes code for a viral enzyme, the herpes virus thymidine kinase (TK). TK is able to transform chemically an inactive drug (ganciclovir, usually used for the treatment of herpes infections) into a derivative that is toxic to dividing cells, which then die by "cellular suicide". Thus the target cells into which the TK gene has been introduced die if an only if they are in the presence of ganciclovir and in division. This is the case with the T-cells present in the graft, which are frequently the cause of graft versus host disease. This complication, which often resists other types of treatment, is a frequent cause of death. The treatment consists of the injection of modified T-cells expressing TK followed by treatment with ganciclovir if graft versus host disease occurs.
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