Pharmaceutical company Zion Medical has signed a memorandum of understanding with Chinese company Shenzen International Institute of Biological Research. According to the deal, the Chinese company will invest in Zion Medical, and will receive the rights to manufacture and market the product in China.
Zion Medical is developing a drug for treatment of cancer (through Zion Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary) and AIDS (through Zion Biomedic, another subsidiary), based on technology developed at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem by Prof. Abraham Loyter. The company did not disclose the amount of the investment, but said that the entire contract reflected a $440 million value for the Zion Medical group.
The Zion Medical group, which received extensive media coverage last year for its AIDS treatment product, is in principle a venture by one man - Zyon Ayni, the main investor in the company, which has no CEO and no other full-time employees. It is conducting its trials through academic institutions and subcontractors. Other partners in the company are private investors whose names were not disclosed and lawyers who received holdings in the company in exchange for their work.
The company's technology is in the very early stages - testing human cells in the laboratory. Getting from this stage to approval of a drug usually requires an investment of hundreds of millions of dollars, 10 years, and only one out of a thousand products at the very early stages actually reaches the market. The company says that it believes that it will be put on a faster track because its products for cancer and AIDS are so badly needed. The company believes that it will be exempted from having to prove the effectiveness on animals (will have to conduct only toxicity trials), and will begin human compassion trials, meaning testing an unproven solution on a few patients who in any case have no alternatives and only a short time to live.
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on May 28, 2017
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