- Licensing Agreement Signed With the Burnham
Institute for Medical Research -
GAITHERSBURG, Md., Dec. 8 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- MedImmune, Inc.
(Nasdaq: MEDI) announced today that it has entered into a licensing agreement
with the Burnham Institute for Medical Research ("Burnham Institute") to
develop peptides targeting the EphA and EphB subfamilies of receptor tyrosine
kinases. This agreement further expands MedImmune's focus on Eph proteins as
potential targets for new cancer therapies. Certain Eph proteins are believed
to play an important role in uncontrolled tumor growth and metastasis in many
types of human cancers.
"The addition of these peptides to our portfolio represents another step
that MedImmune has taken to strategically enhance our oncology product
pipeline," said Peter A. Kiener, D. Phil., MedImmune's senior vice president,
research. "This agreement with the Burnham Institute augments the breadth of
our Eph protein research, and complements our existing antibody and vaccine
programs targeting Eph receptor tyrosine kinases. As we continue to build on
our expertise in this area, we look forward to expanding the body of knowledge
about the role Eph receptors may play in cancers."
Under the terms of the agreement, MedImmune will be responsible for the
clinical development and commercialization of any resulting products. The
Burnham Institute will receive an upfront fee, development and regulatory
milestone payments, as well as royalties on any future marketed products.
"We consider MedImmune a leader in the development of Eph peptides and we
are pleased that the company will be working to further develop Eph peptides
discovered at the Burnham Institute," said Elena Pasquale, Ph.D., professor of
developmental neurobiology at the Burnham Institute. "In preclinical studies,
Eph-targeting peptides have demonstrated selectivity and potency. They may
offer distinct advantages as a therapeutic approach due to their small size
and potential to combine administration of different peptides, which could
allow for selective targeting of multiple Eph receptors."
About Eph Proteins and Peptides
The Eph family of proteins are the largest subfamily of receptor tyrosine
kinases, a class of cellular receptors that are implicated in cell
proliferation and cell death (apoptosis). A growing body of evidence suggests
that Eph proteins play a role in uncontrolled tumor growth and metastasis in
many types of human cancers. For example, EphA2 is expressed at high levels in
numerous types of tumors, including those associated with breast, lung,
prostate and colon cancers. In studies conducted by the Burnham Institute,
certain Eph family peptides have been shown to bind selectively to Eph
receptors and may modulate their activity.
MedImmune is currently investigating the potential for EphA2 antibodies
and vaccines to specifically treat or prevent certain cancers and plans to
file an investigational new drug application for its anti-EphA2 monoclonal
antibody, MEDI-531, in 2006. Earlier this year, the company significantly
expanded the scope of its Eph receptor tyrosine kinase research by entering a
licensing and collaboration agreement with VasGene Therapeutics, Inc. to
develop cancer-focused monoclonal antibodies targeting EphB4 and its ligand,
EphrinB2. The company is also conducting preclinical research with other Eph
proteins, including EphA4.
About the Burnham Institute for Medical Research
The Burnham Institute for Medical Research, founded in 1976, is an
independent not-for-profit biomedical research institution dedicated to
advancing the frontiers of scientific knowledge and providing the foundation
for tomorrow's medical therapies. The institute is home to three major
centers: the Cancer Center, the Del E. Webb Neuroscience and Aging Center, and
the Infectious and Inflammatory Disease Center. Since 1981, the institute's
Cancer Center has been a member of the National Cancer Institute's prestigious
Cancer Centers program. Discoveries by Burnham scientists have contributed to
the development of new drugs for Alzheimer's disease, heart disease and
several forms of cancer. Today the Burnham Institute employs over 725
individuals, including more than 550 scientists. The majority of the
institute's funding derives from federal sources, but private philanthropic
support is essential to continuing bold and innovative research. For
additional information about the institute and ways to support the research
efforts of the institute, visit http://www.burnham.org.
MedImmune strives to provide better medicines to patients, new medical
options for physicians, rewarding careers to employees, and increased value to
shareholders. Dedicated to advancing science and medicine to help people live
better lives, the company is focused on the areas of infectious diseases,
cancer and inflammatory diseases. With more than 2,000 employees worldwide,
MedImmune is headquartered in Maryland. For more information, visit
This announcement may contain, in addition to historical information,
certain forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, in
particular, related to the research and development of peptides targeting Eph
proteins. Such statements reflect management's current views and are based on
certain assumptions about the success of this program. Actual results could
differ materially from those currently anticipated as a result of a number of
factors, including risks and uncertainties discussed in MedImmune's filings
with the SEC. MedImmune is developing Eph-related product candidates for
potential future marketing. There can be no assurance that such development
efforts will succeed, that such products will receive required regulatory
clearance or that, even if such regulatory clearance were received, such
products would ultimately achieve commercial success.
This press release can be found on MedImmune's website at
http://www.medimmune.com in the box marked "News" or with the archived press
releases on the Investor Summary page.
SOURCE MedImmune, Inc.
Jamie Lacey, +1-301-398-4035
Peter Vozzo, +1-301-398-4358
all of MedImmune, Inc.