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Antisense makes sense
September 2008

HALLE, GermanyŚNovosom AG announced in late August that it acquired an exclusive, worldwide license from Isis Pharmaceuticals to access certain antisense inhibitors targeting CD40 mRNA for a number of indications. This deal exercises an option agreement signed in February 2007 between the two companies and provides Novosom AG with exclusive, worldwide and sub-licensable access to certain of Isis' proprietary antisense oligonucleotides targeting CD40 as well as a non-exclusive worldwide and sub-licensable access to certain aspects of Isis' core technology patents. This includes the second generation antisense chemistry, specifically 2' MOE oligonucleotides for these inhibitors. In return, Isis will receive financial considerations including an upfront exercise fee, milestone payments and royalties.

Novosom plans to target CD40, a well-established target for both inflammatory diseases and B-cell cancers, for indications such as Crohn's disease, organ transplant or rheumatoid arthritis. Novosom will use its proprietary Smarticles technology to enhance the systemic delivery of antisense targeting CD40. Compared to the anti-inflammatory blockbuster Remicade, this encapsulated antisense approach has demonstrated targeted delivery to specific cell types with a rapid onset of action and superior in vivo efficacy.

Elias Papatheodorou, CEO of Novosom AG, says: "This license deal marks a very important milestone for Novosom AG in antisense drug development. It follows two other important milestones: this year's successful IND and the granting of our umbrella patents for the Smarticles siRNA and antisense delivery technology in the U.S. and EU. We are also excited to be working with Isis' antisense 2' MOE chemistry for CD40 inhibitors. This, complemented with our Smarticles delivery technology, is showing tremendous promise in animal models of multiple inflammatory diseases." DDN



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