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Neose sells PEG tech for $43m

By Nick Taylor , 18-Sep-2008

BioGeneriX and Novo Nordisk have signed deals to acquire most of Neose Technologies’ intellectual property for a combined total of $43m.

Neose was already in developmental collaborations with BioGeneriX and Novo but has faced a difficult 12 months following the demise of its lead drug candidate in 2007. The company made a $28.5m loss last year, compared with a loss of $27.1m in the previous year.

Earlier this year the company outlined its plans to refocus its R&D and highlighted its PEGylation collaborations with BioGeneriX and Novo as projects that were progressing well.

However, Neose has now decided that the best way to maximise stockholder value and increase the likelihood of the products getting to market is to sell its assets.

George Vergis, Neose’s CEO, said: “The announcement of these asset sales follows an extensive review of a range of strategic alternatives for the company, including obtaining further financing to continue as an independent entity and exploring mergers and acquisitions.

We believe that the sale of these assets to our existing collaborative partners maximizes stockholder value and increases the probability that patients will benefit from the continued development of drug candidates that incorporate our intellectual property, including GlycoPEG-GCSF and GlycoPEGylated Factors VIIa, VIII and IX.”

Neose is a specialist in the PEGylation of proteins, which is a technology that enables the extension and customisation of a protein’s half-life. This is achieved by linking various size PEG polymers to glycans.

The company has developed a library of enzymes for PEGylation that it produces in fungal and other expression systems. It has also developed technology to produce sugar nucleotides in large quantities.

Using this technology Neose has developed neutropenia treatment GlycoPEG-GCSF with BioGeneriX. Positive Phase I data was released by the companies in November 2007, leading to Phase II trials being launched in June.

Neose’s collaboration with Novo developed GlycoPEGylated Factors VIIa, VIII and IX for the treatment of haemophilia. Factor VIIa is the most developmentally advanced of the three treatments and entered into Phase I clinical trials in June 2007.

Novo has spent about $21m to acquire the intellectual property for the treatments, which it views as being inline with its policy of expanding its presence within haemophilia treatments.

Neose has retained certain intellectual property rights, including those related to the production of glycolipids. Although it is to retain these rights, liquidation of the company is being considered if stockholders approve.

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