Oncodesign and the Laboratory for Neurobiology and Gene Therapy at the KU Leuven enter into a research collaboration for advancing drug discovery efforts with Ipsen in Parkinson’s disease

Oncodesign, a drug discovery company and oncology pharmacology service provider and the Laboratory for Neurobiology and Gene Therapy (LNGT) at the department of neurosciences at the KU Leuven, an expert academic group exploring the roles of LRRK2 and a-synuclein in Parkinson’s disease headed by Professor Veerle Baekelandt, today announced that they have entered into a research collaboration to evaluate, with Ipsen , Oncodesign’s compounds in multiple pharmacology models for Parkinson’s disease. The collaboration builds on Oncodesign’s LRRK2 program with advanced Nanocyclix(R) lead molecules that was partnered with Ipsen in January 2012.  

“Our partnership with Ipsen on the discovery of novel therapeutic agents in Parkinson’s disease has advanced to a stage where we can use further in-depth expertise and advanced pharmacology models to position our leads. We are very excited to collaborate with KU Leuven to advance our understanding of both our inhibitors and the LRRK2 target,” said Jan Hoflack, Ph.D., chief scientific officer and head of Oncodesign’s discovery activities.

“This collaboration with Oncodesign is a perfect example of translational research in action,” said Veerle Baekelandt, Ph.D., principle investigator of LNGT. “Parkinson’s disease has been the focus of our research for more than ten years now. We are very pleased that Oncodesign has selected our lab as a partner for advancing their kinase program,” she added.

“We are thrilled that the expertise that our lab has built up from fundamental research on LRRK2 can be put to good use in evaluating and developing the biology aspects of compounds with therapeutic potential,” said Jean-Marc Taymans, Ph.D., group leader of LNGT.

“Ipsen and Oncodesign entered into a research collaboration last January for the development of new therapeutic agents against LRKK2 involved in Parkinson’s disease, in line with our focus in neurology and movement disorders. We are delighted that our partnership with Oncodesign is moving forward as planned with the objective of developing therapeutics for Parkinson’s disease patients. The Oncodesign collaboration with LNGT will greatly accelerate the progress of this research program” stated Dr. Claude Bertrand, executive vice president, R&D, chief scientific officer at Ipsen.

Under the terms of the agreement, Oncodesign and LNGT will closely collaborate to advance Oncodesign’s Parkinson’s disease program towards clinical development. LNGT will receive full financial support from Oncodesign for these activities.

About Oncodesign

Founded in 1995 and headed by Dr. Philippe Genne, Oncodesign is a pioneer in the preclinical assessment of anti-cancer therapies, a market it has been leading for many years. Oncodesign’s mission consists of discovering effective anti-cancer therapies. Its scientific expertise in pharmacology, imaging and medicinal chemistry, in addition to strong project management skills, support the company’s two strategic activities of experimentation and discovery, conducted in partnership with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

The experimentation activity is organized in three technological platforms: PREDICT(R) specializes in conventional in vitro and in vivo pharmacology; Chi-Mice(R) focuses on the development of in vivo chimeric humanized models; Pharmimage(R) is dedicated to multimodal, non-invasive pharmaco-imaging. On the basis of these three platforms, Oncodesign markets a broad range of products and services (fee-for-service) for the assessment, validation, targeting and diagnostic linking of anticancer therapies. Since 2010, Oncodesign has incorporated a medicinal chemistry technology into its discovery activity: Nanocyclix(R), which is dedicated to the synthesis of highly potent and selective novel kinase inhibitors. The combination of these four technological platforms results in a unique and innovative translational research approach in a risk-sharing approach between partners.

For more information, see: http://www.oncodesign.com

About KU Leuven and LNGT

The Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven), founded in 1425, is the largest university in Belgium, located in Leuven, Flanders, with a wealth of excellent research and a strong reputation and track-record in technology transfer through KU Leuven Research & Development (LRD). More than 6,000 researchers from more than 120 countries concentrate on curiosity-driven and ground-breaking strategic research, as well as targeted and demand-driven research.

The LNGT focuses on Parkinson’s disease research, disease modeling and therapy for Parkinson’s disease using viral vectors in cell culture and in vivo. Core technologies of the group consist of viral vector technology, stereotactic neurosurgery and molecular imaging in pre-clinical models.

For more information, see: http://www.kuleuven.be/molmed/research/research_neurodenerative_disease.html

About Ipsen

Ipsen is a global specialty-driven pharmaceutical company with total sales exceeding EUR 1.1 billion in 2011. Ipsen’s ambition is to become a leader in specialty healthcare solutions for targeted debilitating diseases. Its development strategy is supported by four franchises: neurology / Dysport(R), endocrinology / Somatuline(R), uro-oncology / Decapeptyl(R) and hemophilia. Moreover, the group has an active policy of partnerships. Ipsen’s R&D is focused on its innovative and differentiated technological platforms, peptides and toxins. In 2011, R&D expenditure totaled more than EUR 250 million, above 21 per cent of group sales. The group has total worldwide staff of close to 4,500 employees. Ipsen’s shares are traded on segment A of Euronext Paris (stock code: IPN, ISIN code: FR0010259150) and eligible to the “Service de Reglement Differe” (“SRD”). The group is part of the SBF 120 index. Ipsen has implemented a sponsored level I American Depositary Receipt (ADR) program, which trade on the over-the-counter market in the United States under the symbol IPSEY. For more information on Ipsen, visit http://www.ipsen.com.

Ipsen’s Forward Looking Statement

The forward-looking statements, objectives and targets contained herein are based on the group’s management strategy, current views and assumptions. Such statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results, performance or events to differ materially from those anticipated herein. All of the above risks could affect the group’s future ability to achieve its financial targets, which were set assuming reasonable macroeconomic conditions based on the information available today. Moreover, the targets described in this document were prepared without taking into account external growth assumptions and potential future acquisitions, which may alter these parameters. These objectives are based on data and assumptions regarded as reasonable by the group. These targets depend on conditions or facts likely to happen in the future and not exclusively on historical data. Actual results may depart significantly from these targets given the occurrence of certain risks and uncertainties, notably the fact that a promising product in early development phase or clinical trial may end up never being launched on the 3/3 market or reaching its commercial targets, notably for regulatory or competition reasons. The group must face or might face competition from generics that might translate into loss of market shares. Furthermore, the research and development process involves several stages each of which involve the substantial risk that the group may fail to achieve its objectives and be forced to abandon its efforts with regards to a product in which it has invested significant sums. Therefore, the group cannot be certain that favorable results obtained during pre-clinical trials will be confirmed subsequently during clinical trials, or that the results of clinical trials will be sufficient to demonstrate the safe and effective nature of the product concerned. The group also depends on third parties to develop and market some of its products which could potentially generate substantial royalties; these partners could behave in such ways which could cause damage to the group’s activities and financial results. The group expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to update or revise any forward looking statements, targets or estimates contained in this press release to reflect any change in events, conditions, assumptions or circumstances on which any such statements are based, unless so required by applicable law. The group’s business is subject to the risk factors outlined in its registration documents filed with the French Autorite des Marches Financiers.