DEERFIELD, Ill. & ROCHESTER, Minn. & SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Baxter Ventures, the venture arm of Baxter International Inc. (NYSE:BAX), the Mayo Clinic and Velocity Pharmaceutical Development, LLC (“VPD”) today announced the formation of Vitesse Biologics, LLC, (“Vitesse”). Vitesse is a unique collaboration model initiated by Baxter Ventures to focus on the development of antibody and protein-based therapeutics in the areas of immunology, hematology, and oncology. Following the spin-off of Baxter BioScience as Baxalta Incorporated, anticipated to take place by mid-2015, the Vitesse relationship will be managed by the planned venture arm, Baxalta Ventures, for the new company.
The collaboration model, which represents a new method of drug development, was designed to incent each partner to advance promising therapies quickly through the development process. Each partner will provide its recognized expertise to enhance the target selection, target optimization, expression and product development process. Baxter BioScience will provide global commercialization, antibody and protein development and manufacturing capabilities; Mayo Clinic researchers will execute the Phase I clinical trials; VPD will be responsible for target identification, selection of early stage drug candidates and will lead the design and execution of pre-clinical and clinical protocols.
''Delivering innovative treatments to address unmet patient needs is at the very core of everything we do and drives our ongoing R&D focus,'' said Ludwig N. Hantson, Ph.D., president of Baxter BioScience. ''By creating Vitesse, our business is executing on a new concept in early stage R&D by leveraging the expertise of industry-leading partners to accelerate the identification and development of novel biologic treatments that could eventually contribute to unmet patient needs while enhancing the Baxalta commercial portfolio.''
Vitesse will develop treatments in the fields of hematology, oncology and immunology, which aligns strongly with Baxter BioScience’s therapeutic focus. This innovative model enables Baxter to serve as a hands-on partner in the pursuit of innovative treatments, as Baxter BioScience will be involved in the early-stages of development for all products identified by Vitesse and has an exclusive option to acquire each such product following the completion of the applicable Phase I trials.
''We are excited about the possibilities for this new collaboration, and particularly for this new model for early stage drug development,'' said Greg Gores, M.D., executive dean for research at Mayo Clinic. ''Our goal is to identify new, useful therapeutics to address the unmet needs of our patients.''
David Collier, M.D., CEO of VPD, said, ''We are fortunate to have world-class partners in this project. We believe that the combination of the development and manufacturing expertise offered by Baxter BioScience and the clinical capabilities of the Mayo Clinic, working in conjunction with our team at VPD, will produce a series of very promising new therapeutics developed in a more rapid and cost-efficient manner.''
With research as a key priority of the Destination Medical Center (DMC) initiative, Mayo Clinic is building upon the clinical and research infrastructure further accelerating Mayo Clinic’s ability to conduct some of the most important medical research, eventually to translate these discoveries into therapies for patients from across the globe.
About Vitesse Biologics, LLC
Vitesse Biologics, LLC, a Delaware Corporation based in South San Francisco, CA, develops antibody and protein-based therapeutics in the areas of immunology, hematology, and oncology.
About Baxter International Inc.
Baxter International Inc., through its subsidiaries, develops, manufactures and markets products that save and sustain the lives of people with hemophilia, immune disorders, cancer, infectious diseases, kidney disease, trauma and other chronic and acute medical conditions. As a global, diversified healthcare company, Baxter applies a unique combination of expertise in medical devices, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology to create products that advance patient care worldwide.
Baxter Ventures identifies companies with promising technologies, products and therapies, and provides them with the capital and expertise needed to drive successful innovation.
About Baxter BioScience
Baxter BioScience is a leading provider of therapeutic treatments that save, sustain and improve the lives of people with rare conditions, chronic diseases or limited treatment options. Supported by advanced technical and manufacturing expertise, Baxter BioScience has a broad pipeline built on a legacy of innovation in bleeding disorders and immunology and is expanding to address emerging opportunities in technology platforms such as gene therapy and biosimilars. By mid-2015, Baxter expects to establish the BioScience business as a separate, publicly traded, innovation-oriented biopharmaceutical company named Baxalta Incorporated.
About Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to medical research and education, and providing expert, whole-person care to everyone who needs healing. For more information, visit http://mayocl.in/1ohJTMS, or http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/.
About Velocity Pharmaceutical Development, LLC
Velocity Pharmaceutical Development, LLC (VPD) is a pharmaceutical development organization dedicated to rapidly advancing promising drug candidates to clinical proof of concept using a highly virtual management model. VPD seeks to acquire promising drug candidates, generally within a year of their entering human clinical trials or after initial human clinical data have been generated. VPD then manages a development program for each drug candidate intended to generate convincing human proof of concept data (generally by conducting a phase 2 clinical trial). Following successful human proof of concept, VPD then seeks a large pharmaceutical company acquirer for each program. VPD is staffed by a seasoned team of clinical drug developers with expertise identifying attractive drug candidates, target markets, and designing and managing outsourced clinical trials. This expert team manages multiple single asset companies to remove the costly overhead and misaligned incentives present in traditional biotechnology company structures. VPD believes this new capital-efficient model will yield attractive new drugs to treat patients with significant unmet clinical needs. The company is located in South San Francisco, California. More information is available at www.vpd.net.
This release includes forward-looking statements concerning Vitesse, a new business collaboration between Baxter BioScience, the Mayo Clinic and VPD, as well as the planned spin-off of Baxalta, including expectations with regard to the business prospects of the collaboration. The statements are based on assumptions about many important factors, including the following, which could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements: the ability to successfully separate the businesses on the terms or timeline currently contemplated, if at all, and achieve the intended results; a material adverse change in either the biopharmaceutical or the medical products businesses; satisfaction of regulatory and other requirements; actions of regulatory bodies and other governmental authorities; clinical trial results; changes in laws and regulations; product quality, manufacturing or supply issues; patient safety issues; and other risks identified in Baxalta's Form 10 and Baxter's most recent filing on Form 10-K and other Securities and Exchange Commission filings, all of which are available on Baxter's website. Baxter does not undertake to update its forward-looking statements.