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BioLineRx Ltd. (TASE: BLRX), Israel’s leading drug development company, today announced that it has signed in-license agreements to develop and commercialize two new therapeutic candidates: BL-3040, a small molecule for the treatment of estrogen-regulated malignancies and osteoporosis; and BL-3050, a protein complex for the treatment of atherosclerosis. This marks the third and fourth in-licensing agreements signed by BioLineRx since its IPO in February 2007, bringing the total number of drugs under development by the Company to fourteen.
The worldwide exclusive license for the development of BL-3040 was signed with Yeda Research and Development Company Ltd., the technology transfer company of the Weizmann Institute of Science and with the Medical Research and Infrastructure Fund of Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center. The worldwide exclusive license for the development of BL-3050 was signed with Yeda Research and Development Company Ltd. Financial terms of the agreements were not disclosed. BioLineRx plans to develop the drugs through BioLine Innovations Jerusalem (BIJ) under the National Biotech Grant received in November 2004 from the Israeli Office of the Chief Scientist.
'We look forward to further developing these two candidates that have the potential to have an impact on millions of lives by delivering new and improved treatments for estrogen-regulated malignancies, osteoporosis and atherosclerosis,' commented Morris C. Laster, MD, CEO of BioLineRx. 'We remain committed to our strategy of building a robust therapeutic pipeline with compounds for the treatment of unmet medical needs, and swiftly advancing our existing drug candidates.'
'We are sure that our collaboration with BioLineRx in connection with these drug candidates will be a model for successful technology transfer between academia and industry,' stated Amir Naiberg, CEO of Yeda. 'In the long run, we hope that these technologies will join other Yeda success stories in improving patient care around the world.'
BL-3040 represents a novel class of selective estrogen receptor modulators. Osteoporosis has been shown to be related directly to a reduction in the level of estrogens. Additionally, estrogen is involved in the progression of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine and endometrial malignancies. Because BL-3040 is a new chemical entity base on phytoestrogens, or estrogens derived from plants, it is believed that it could provide estrogenic effects without the associated side effects of hormone therapy thereby offering an innovative approach for the treatment of chemotherapy-resistant estrogen-regulated malignancies and osteoporosis. BL-3040 was shown to inhibit growth of various estrogen-sensitive tumor cells in culture and to reduce tumor size in mice implanted with ovarian tumor cells. BL-3040 was invented by Dr. Fortune Kohen from the Department of Biological Regulation, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel and Professors Naftali Stern and Dalia Somjen, from the Institute of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Hypertension, Tel-Aviv Sourasky Medical Center.
BL-3050 is a protein complex under development to reduce atherosclerotic plaques. The project was originated by Professor Dan Tawfik from the Weizmann Institute of Science, who utilized a form of genetic engineering known as 'directed evolution' in order to create a form of the anti-atherogenic enzyme Paraxonase 1 (PON1) that is more soluble and has an up to 500-fold increased activity. BL-3050 is a complex of the improved PON1 and its carrier high density lipoprotein HDL ('good' cholesterol) for the treatment of atherosclerosis. The drug has been shown to prevent LDL oxidation (formation of 'bad' cholesterol) and induced cholesterol efflux from cells, indicating that it is able to reverse the formation of cholesterol plaques leading the atherosclerosis.
BioLineRx, a clinical stage drug development company publicly traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (BLRX), is dedicated to building a robust pipeline of promising therapeutics for unmet medical needs. The Company’s leading programs are for schizophrenia and treatment of damaged heart tissue post-myocardial infarction. Additional products under development include compounds for the treatment of cancer and CNS, cardiovascular, metabolic, infectious and autoimmune diseases.
BioLineRx advances projects from early stage discovery and lead generation to advanced clinical trials, regulatory approval and marketing. Partnering with researchers, universities and biotech companies to further the commercialization of promising compounds, BioLineRx seeks to enrich the pipeline of large pharmaceutical companies seeking their next blockbuster drugs. The Company was founded in 2003 by leaders in the Israeli life science arena including Teva Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Giza, Pitango, Hadasit and the Jerusalem Development Authority. For more information, please visit http://www.biolinerx.com/.
This press release contains 'forward-looking statements.' These statements include words like 'may,' 'expects,' 'believes,' 'scheduled' and 'intends,' and describe opinions about future events. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of BioLineRx to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements.
For more information please contact:
VP Finance and Corporate
Stern Investor Relations, Inc.
Tel: (212) 362-1200
Media Liaison, BioLineRx Ltd.