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Postby bromley » Thu Jul 13, 2006 6:29 am

Archemix Announces Strategic Alliance With Elan to Discover and Develop Aptamer Therapeutics

Archemix Corp. announced today a multi-year, multi-product alliance with Elan Corporation plc focused on the discovery, development, and commercialisation of first-in-class aptamer therapeutics to treat autoimmune disease. The companies will seek to develop aptamer therapeutics to IL-23, a cytokine that has emerged as a mediator in the chronic autoimmune inflammatory diseases, and additional protein targets. The collaboration combines Archemix's extensive expertise in aptamer therapeutics with Elan's experience and leadership in the development and commercialisation of new therapies for autoimmune diseases.

Under the terms of the agreement, Archemix will receive an upfront payment of $7 million. Depending upon the number of products successfully commercialised under the collaboration, Archemix is eligible to receive development and sales milestones in excess of $350 million. Archemix is also entitled to receive a royalty on any marketed products developed under the collaboration. Other financial terms were not disclosed. Archemix also has an option to participate in the co-development of some products that may emerge from this collaboration.

"We selected Elan from a number of potential pharmaceutical partners because of its demonstrated expertise in the clinical and regulatory landscape of autoimmune disease," said Dr. Errol De Souza, President and Chief Executive Officer of Archemix. "Our robust intellectual property position in aptamer therapeutics uniquely positions Archemix to be a product development engine, developing a portfolio of aptamers for both acute and chronic disease. Aptamers are poised to become the next generation of therapeutics, and we are extremely pleased to be working with a company of Elan's caliber on their development."

G. Kelly Martin, Elan's President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, "We are pleased and enthusiastic about joining forces with Archemix to seek to further expand patient/physician treatment choice in autoimmune diseases. By combining our strengths, this collaboration can accelerate the development of new therapies for chronic, debilitating diseases with continued unmet medical needs."

About Interleukin 23

Interleukin 23, or IL-23, is a cytokine that has emerged as a mediator in chronic autoimmune inflammatory diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis, Crohn's Disease, Psoriasis, and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Preclinical results have demonstrated that IL-23 exerts its pro-inflammatory effects principally at the site of inflammation. It is hypothesised that specific blockade of IL-23 may control clinical symptoms at the level of the inflamed tissue without generally suppressing the patient's immune system, thus preserving the body's ability to fight infection. The current anti-cytokine treatments for autoimmune disorders have a number of disadvantages, including an increased risk of infection, increased chances of developing lymphoma, renal toxicity, and limited efficacy. Archemix's aptamers are first-in-class therapeutics for autoimmune diseases that exert their action by specifically inhibiting IL-23 in the target tissue.

About Aptamers

Aptamers are single-stranded nucleic acids that form well-defined three-dimensional shapes, allowing them to bind to target molecules in a manner that is conceptually similar to antibodies. Aptamers combine the optimal characteristics of small molecules and antibodies, including high specificity and affinity, chemical and biological stability, low immunogenicity, and the ability to target protein-protein interactions. In contrast to monoclonal antibodies, aptamers are chemically synthesised rather than biologically expressed, potentially offering a significant cost advantage. As therapeutic agents, aptamers have demonstrated clinical biological efficacy and typically have excellent, tunable pharmacokinetic properties.

About Archemix Corp.

Archemix Corp. is a privately-held biopharmaceutical company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The company's mission is to develop aptamers as a class of directed therapeutics for the prevention and treatment of human disease. Because of their unique properties and proven efficacy, aptamers are a superior alternative to biologics and small molecules and will be a major class of drugs for the treatment of unmet medical needs.

Archemix's aptamer expertise is complemented by a robust patent estate comprised of over 220 issued and 230 pending patents covering the identification, composition, and use of therapeutic aptamers. In addition to the company's core aptamer generation technology, Archemix possesses strong expertise in both preclinical and clinical drug development. Further information on Archemix can be found at

Source: PR Newswire
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