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Biopharmaceutical company inks commercialization agreement


Vancouver, BC – Protox Therapeutics says it has signed an exclusive licence agreement with Johns Hopkins University and the University of Victoria Innovation and Development Corporation. The licence grants Protox the worldwide rights to commercialize a genetically modified Aerolysin protein developed by the research institutions as a targeted therapy for the treatment of prostate cancer.

Protox is developing cancer therapeutics based on modified proteins engineered from Aerolysin, a naturally occurring bacterial toxin. The company says it believes its targeted approach may produce cancer therapeutics with greater efficacy and fewer side effects than existing treatments.

The specific terms of the agreement were not disclosed but include payment of an upfront licensing fee as well as milestone and royalty payments. Protox had earlier signed an exclusive option agreement with both institutions covering this intellectual property and has now exercised this option to obtain the worldwide licence.

“This agreement represents a significant milestone for Protox and for our partners at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Victoria,” says Tazdin Esmail, the company’s president and CEO. “We believe this agreement effectively secures the core intellectual property for our first product, PSA-PA1, for the treatment of localized prostate cancer. We are currently conducting preclinical studies on PSA-PA1 and anticipate filing an Investigational New Drug (IND) application with the US Food and Drug Administration in mid-2005 for clearance to initiate human trials.”

The principal inventors of the licensed intellectual property Dr Tom Buckley, the chief scientific officer of Protox and a professor in the department of biochemistry and microbiology at the University of Victoria, and Drs Sam Denmeade and John Isaacs of Johns Hopkins University. Drs Denmeade and Isaacs are professors in the department of oncology at the JHU School of Medicine.