MARLBOROUGH, Mass. & SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Sunovion) and Afraxis, Inc. today announced that they have signed a partnership agreement to utilize the unique Enhanced Spine Platform (ESP) developed by Afraxis, Inc. to accelerate Sunovion’s preclinical central nervous system (CNS) drug discovery process. The use of this proprietary platform will allow Sunovion to identify novel CNS compounds that are potentially superior to existing treatments. While the full financial terms have not been disclosed, Afraxis will be eligible for certain milestone payments for each compound through phase 2 clinical trial initiation.
“Our partnership with Afraxis is one of several ways that Sunovion Discovery is taking a fresh approach to CNS drug discovery using systems biology as a fundamental strategy,” said Tom Large, senior vice president of discovery research at Sunovion. “A key goal of the partnership is to use ESP to guide the optimization of clinical drugs for a range of complex and often devastating psychiatric and neurological disorders.”
Dendritic spines are small protrusions on neuronal dendrites; they receive and store information from synapses and transmit that information to the neuronal cell body. Detailed analysis of dendritic spine morphology across distributed brain regions yields reliable disease spine "signatures" that can be used to screen for drug candidates that correct the disease-specific spine abnormalities. The technology behind the Afraxis ESP platform uses well-accepted dendritic spine measurement methods to evaluate spine morphology at rates of greater than a half million spines per month. The resulting information is invaluable and time-saving when making assessments of a molecule’s novel pharmacology and efficacy during preclinical testing.
“The scope of this collaboration with Sunovion envisions running up to one thousand compounds through our proprietary platform,” said Carmine Stengone, chief executive officer of Afraxis, Inc. “This collaboration offers further validation of the Afraxis ESP technology, and we feel the combination of Sunovion and Afraxis efforts will increase the odds of finding potential treatments in areas of high unmet medical need.”
About Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Sunovion is a leading pharmaceutical company dedicated to discovering, developing and commercializing therapeutic products that advance the science of medicine in the Psychiatry, Neurology and Respiratory disease areas and improve the lives of patients and their families. Sunovion's drug development program, together with its corporate development and licensing efforts, has yielded a portfolio of pharmaceutical products including LATUDA® (lurasidone HCl) tablets, LUNESTA® (eszopiclone) tablets, XOPENEX® (levalbuterol HCI) inhalation solution, XOPENEX HFA® (levalbuterol tartrate) inhalation aerosol, BROVANA® (arformoterol tartrate) inhalation solution, OMNARIS® (ciclesonide) nasal spray, ZETONNA® (ciclesonide) nasal aerosol and ALVESCO® (ciclesonide) inhalation aerosol.
Sunovion, an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma Co., Ltd., is headquartered in Marlborough, Mass. More information about Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. is available at www.sunovion.com.
About Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma Co., Ltd. (DSP)
Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma Co., Ltd. (DSP) is a multi-billion dollar, top-ten listed pharmaceutical company in Japan with a diverse portfolio of pharmaceutical, animal health and food and specialty products. DSP aims to produce innovative pharmaceutical products in the Psychiatry & Neurology field, which has been designated as one of the two key therapeutic areas. DSP is based on the merger in 2005 between Dainippon Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., and Sumitomo Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd. Today, DSP has more than 7,000 employees worldwide. Additional information about DSP is available through its corporate website at www.ds-pharma.com.
LATUDA is a registered trademark of Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma Co., Ltd. LUNESTA, XOPENEX, XOPENEX HFA and BROVANA are registered trademarks of Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. OMNARIS and ALVESCO are registered trademarks of Nycomed GmbH, used with permission.
Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. is a U.S. subsidiary of Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma Co., Ltd.© 2013 Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc.
About Afraxis, Inc.
Afraxis, Inc. is a San Diego-based drug discovery platform company recently spun-out of Afraxis Holdings. The company is part of a growing wave of innovative neuroscience that applies cutting-edge technical and computational approaches to fundamental issues in brain science that promise to generate new insights into CNS diseases. Afraxis develops and uses high content central nervous system (CNS) pharmaceutical screening technologies to evaluate preclinical efficacy for potential treatments for neurological and psychiatric disorders. Afraxis developed the Enhanced Spine Platform (ESP) Technology platform, which quantifies the morphology and maturity of synaptic dendritic spines that are fundamental to information processing by neural synapses in the brain. Abnormal dendritic spine quantity and morphology have been associated with numerous CNS disorders, including schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, Fragile X syndrome and autism. Afraxis has a strategic alliance with PsychoGenics to offer its ESP Technology as part of PsychoGenics’ comprehensive testing capabilities and drug discovery science. For more information visit www.afraxis.com.
For a copy of this release, visit Sunovion’s web site at www.sunovion.com