New uses of glatiramer acetate - the active ingredient of Copaxone® - as a potential neuroprotective agent to be developed under this agreement
Jerusalem, Israel, December 4, 2001 - Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (Nasdaq: TEVA), today announced that Teva and Proneuron Biotechnologies Inc., entered into a strategic alliance agreement that includes the potential development and exclusive commercialization of glatiramer acetate for diseases which may be treatable with a neuroprotective agent. These include Alzheimer's Disease, stroke, brain trauma, glaucoma, Parkinson's Disease, peripheral neuropathy, and others.
Glatiramer acetate is currently marketed by Teva under the trademark Copaxone® for the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis
Under the agreement, Teva will fund the preclinical and clinical development for the indications chosen and will pay Proneuron in accordance with agreed upon milestones and royalties on sales of all commercialized indications. Teva has also made a $10 million equity investment in Proneuron. Proneuron is currently performing Phase 1 clinical trials on another technology derived from the Weizmann Institute, which uses autologous activated macrophages in the treatment of acute complete spinal cord injury. Proneuron also has additional preclinical programs in the field of protective immunity.
Dr Aaron Schwartz, VP - Global Product Marketing, Teva, stated: "Following the success of the development and commercialization of Copaxone®, we are excited for the opportunity to enter into these new fields with Proneuron which has a potential to expand the current use of Copaxone® in RRMS to a wide range of neurodegenerative diseases."
The discovery that glatiramer acetate may be an effective neuroprotective agent was made by Professor Michal Schwartz and fellow scientists at the Weizmann Institute and was exclusively licensed to Proneuron. Professor Schwartz has experimented with a variety of antigens that cross-react with myelin to induce a neuroprotective T-cell immune response (Moalem et al., January 1999 issue of Nature Medicine). Unlike other antigens, glatiramer acetate was found to induce T-cell mediated neuroprotection without the risk of also inducing autoimmune disease. Multiple animal models of neurological diseases including models of spinal cord injury, optic nerve injury, brain trauma and ALS have demonstrated that glatiramer acetate formulated as a vaccine can induce a beneficial T-cell mediated effect (Schori et al., March 13, 2001 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U.S.A)
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., headquartered in Israel, is among the top 40 pharmaceutical companies in the world. Over 80% of Teva's sales are in North America and Europe. The company develops, manufactures and markets generic and branded human pharmaceuticals and active pharmaceutical ingredients.
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