MIRAMAR, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Altor BioScience Corporation (Altor) announced today it has entered into an agreement with Genentech, Inc. for exclusive, worldwide rights to develop and commercialize a class of antibody-based Tissue Factor antagonists. Altor plans on initiating a multi-center, Phase II clinical study later this year, using the lead therapeutic antibody known as ALT-836 for the treatment of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) and Acute Lung Injury (ALI). Financial terms of the licensing transaction were not disclosed.
Altor also announced that it has been awarded a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) of approximately $2.1 million to partially support the planned ALI/ARDS trial.
Tissue Factor (TF) is a potentially important therapeutic target for many life-threatening diseases. These include cancer, myocardial infarction, unstable angina, and severe systemic inflammation such as ALI, ARDS, colitis and avian flu. Altor is a leader in the development of TF antagonists. The antibody-based TF antagonists being licensed to Altor are among several molecules obtained by Genentech upon completion of its acquisition of Tanox, Inc. on August 2, 2007.
Altor’s President & CEO Hing C. Wong, Ph.D., commented, “Based on our experience with anti-TF antibodies in earlier stages of clinical development, we are excited by the potential of these promising drugs for treating ARDS. This is a devastating disease for which there currently is no meaningful medical therapy. We are very gratified for the support and validation provided by the NIH for our approach. The in-licensing arrangement with Genentech also provides Altor with important intellectual property rights for the development of those antibody-based TF antagonists.”
ALI and ARDS are forms of acute respiratory failure, commonly occurring in patients with severe trauma to the lungs, severe pulmonary infection, and sepsis. These conditions are estimated to occur in more than 150,000 persons each year in the United States, with a fatality rate of 30-50 percent. Estimates of the healthcare costs associated with ALI/ARDS exceed $5 billion per year in the United States alone. There are currently no specific pharmaceutical treatments for ALI/ARDS patients. Treatment in the intensive care unit typically involves the use of mechanical ventilation and other supportive care.
Altor BioScience Corporation is a privately-held biotechnology company developing targeted immunotherapeutics for treating cancer, viral infections and inflammatory diseases, based on its proprietary, integrated technologies for the creation of soluble T-cell receptors (TCRs). Its lead compound, ALT-801, is a soluble fusion protein consisting of a TCR specific to the p53 tumor antigen and the approved anticancer cytokine interleukin-2 (IL-2). ALT-801 is currently in a Phase I/IIa clinical trial for patients with various late-stage metastatic cancers. For more information on Altor, visit the Company’s website at www.altorbioscience.com.