Peptor signs diabetes drug deal with Aventis

The agreement gives European drug giant Aventis exclusive rights to develop Peptors DiaPep277 drug for the treatment of diabetes.

Rehovot-based Peptor announced today that it had signed a significant worldwide agreement with European drug giant Aventis. The agreement gives Aventis exclusive rights to develop and commercialize Peptors DiaPep277 drug for the treatment of diabetes.

The value of the deal was not disclosed, but Peptor president and CEO Dr Yoram Karmon told Globes that Peptor would receive a first milestone payment of $15 million with the signing of the deal. Peptor will be the sole manufacturer of the drug, and will receive a very significant share of revenue from the product.

Peptor will also receive a series of milestone payments, based on progress towards the successful approval and commercialization of the drug. Upon approval of DiaPep277 by the relevant registration authorities, Aventis will have worldwide exclusive rights to sell and distribute the product.

Aventis will be responsible for further clinical development and commercialization. The costs of the development of the manufacturing process and the capital expenditures for the required scaling up of manufacturing plants will be Peptors responsibility.

The new drug, called DiaPep277 is being developed for the prevention and treatment of latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA) and type 1 diabetes. DiaPep277 has been shown in Phase II human clinical trials to arrest the progression of type 1 diabetes, prevent destruction of insulin-producing pancreatic cells, and reduce the need for injected insulin in newly diagnosed patients, Aventis said.

Aventis Drug Innovation and Approval head Frank L. Douglas said, "The new drug represents an important development in the battle to help the millions of people suffering from diabetes. The agreement with Peptor is another step in the efforts of Aventis to offer diabetes patients the most innovative and comprehensive line of diabetes therapies worldwide."

LADA is a slowly progressing form of type 1 diabetes, characterized by the similar immune destruction of the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, which eventually leaves the patient insulin dependent for life. Most LADA patients are initially misdiagnosed after age 40 as having type 2 diabetes, the more common, progressive form of the disease in which the body produces insulin but is unable to utilize it. Type 2 diabetes patients have more treatment options available to them to encourage more efficient use or supply of their natural insulin. As the disease progresses, type 2 diabetes patients will often require a insulin injections as needed by all type 1 and the majority of LADA patients to manage their disease. LADA is diagnosed by a blood test for antibodies to a protein known as GAD.

Type 1 diabetes - formerly known as juvenile diabetes or insulin dependent diabetes mellitus - is a condition in which the immune system attacks and destroys insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. This attack renders the pancreas unable to produce insulin, a hormone that controls blood sugar levels. People with type 1 diabetes must take insulin shots several times a day in order to survive. Late stage complications frequently include heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, blindness, kidney disease, nervous system damage, and amputations.

There are an estimated 10-12 million people in the United States, Europe, and Japan with autoimmune diabetes (including type 1 diabetes and LADA). There is currently no way to treat the underlying cause of autoimmune diabetes or to halt the progression of the disease.

Aventis says it is committed to expanding its global position in the global insulin market, in which it ranked third based on sales, according to research firm IMS Health. It presently offers a wide range of oral and injectable insulin products for the treatment of type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes is increasing at an alarming rate. The World Health Organization estimates it affects 140 million people worldwide. The incidence of diabetes is expected to double by 2025. Experts blame the rise on an increasingly sedentary lifestyle and a poor diet.

Peptor, which is based in Rehovot, Israel and Erkrath, Germany, develops drugs to cure autoimmune diseases. The company was founded in 1993.

Published by Globes [online] - - on 30 July, 2002

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