Bwt 071706 - latest biolinerx in license oral peptide drug for obesity.qxd

C H ’ S M O S T R E S P E C T E D N E W S S O U R C E F O R O V E R 1 5 Y E A R S
Latest BioLineRx In-License: Oral Peptide Drug For Obesity
BioLineRx Ltd. is padding its portfolio with the addition The company was founded to in-license early stage therapeutic candidates – 13 have been brought in to date – The Jerusalem firm in-licensed exclusive worldwide complete preclinical feasibility testing and advance them rights to the orally available compound, called BL-3020, into clinical studies if appropriate. Failures are weeded out from Yissum, the technology transfer company of the quickly – already five programs have been terminated – and attention shifts to others in the pipeline, which is “Obesity is an epidemic,” BioLineRx CEO Morris Laster designed to include a base of 10 compounds at any given told BioWorld Today, later adding he likes “the potential of time. (See BioWorld Today, March 6, 2006.) Though specific financial terms of the latest deal were BL-3020 is designed to reduce food intake by binding not disclosed, Laster said its structure is a typical revenue- to those receptors on the brain, which “have been sharing arrangement for BioLineRx. Going forward, the known for years” to control appetite, Laster said. But company will foot the bill for BL-3020’s development small molecules synthesized to act on MC-4, he noted, through proof-of-concept studies, after which it plans to In contrast, the BL-3020 agonist is “a very potent Obesity, of course, has gained attention as an emerging version” of the MC-4 ligand, an elusive target because it has health and economic crisis for developed countries. It is yet to be affected orally. Chemical structure modifications estimated that 60 million people are obese in the U.S., enable it to cross the blood-brain barrier, despite its size as where the problem has increased by 60 percent over the a peptide, and increase its stability and absorption in the “It’s a cause of a tremendous amount of morbidity and mortality,” Laster said, “vis-à-vis cardiovascular disease, Preclinical experiments in mice conducted at the university, where BL-3020 was discovered by Haim Global revenue from obesity drugs is forecast to reach Gilon and Amnon Hoffman, resulted in a decrease in $2.5 billion by 2012, and Laster said such products could food consumption. Also importantly, the mice did not effectively complement behavioral changes to fight that show any clinical or behavioral abnormalities after its Prescription pharmaceuticals already in the space BioLineRx plans to conduct additional preclinical work include Accomplia (rimonabant, Sanofi Aventis Group), throughout this year and next – in vivo feasibility studies, which he praised for its ability to act through the central lead optimization and full preclinical development – with nervous system, and Xenical (orlistat, F. Hoffmann-La Roche clinical trials expected to begin in 2008. The company will Ltd.), which is less patient-friendly because it can cause develop the compound through its BioLine Innovations diarrhea, with many more in development. Jerusalem subsidiary under an Israeli government grant.
Elsewhere in BioLineRx’s pipeline is a single clinical-stage That funding, awarded in November 2004, makes up compound, BL-1020, a neurotransmission modulator for about half of BioLineRx’s capitalization; since its inception schizophrenia that is in Phase I. The randomized, double-blind, earlier that year, it has brought in about $43 million in placebo-controlled trial is expected to end later this year, with Phase II to come early next year.
2006. Reprinted With Permission From BioWorld® Today, Atlanta, Georgia.
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In addition, a number of other products are nearing the early next year under an investigational device exemption.
Lastly, the company plans to begin a Phase I/II feasibility Preclinical studies of BL-2040, an oral small molecule study of a newly in-licensed product called BL-3010 for for hypertension and metabolic syndrome, have demonstrated acute and chronic pain in a couple of months.
its ability to reduce weight and other symptoms of those The coming clinical work might prompt BioLineRx to seek additional funding at some point next year, Laster An exploratory microdosing Phase 0 study is expected said, though he noted that its existing money would to begin late this year or early next year. BL-1040, a sustain operations for the next 18 months. ■ biodegradable alginate polymer scaffold designed to treatacute myocardial infarction, should enter a Phase I/II trial To subscribe, please call BIOWORLD® Customer Service at (800) 688-2421; outside the U.S. and Canada, call (404) 262-5476.
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