News | May 18, 1999

Inflazyme, Hoechst Marion Roussel to Develop Asthma/Allergy Drugs

Inflazyme Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (Richmond, BC, Canada) and Hoechst Marion Roussel (Kansas City, MO) have signed a collaborative agreement to develop two novel series of compounds—Inflazyme's IPL576 series and Hoechst Marion Roussel's H1/NK1 dual antagonists—for the treatment of asthma and allergies.

Under terms of the agreement, Inflazyme will receive an up-front fee and an equity investment by Hoechst Marion Roussel totaling up to US$16 million. In addition, Inflazyme will be entitled to payments totaling US$75 million if development milestones specified in the agreement are achieved. The agreement gives Inflazyme immediate access to cash for the development of IPL576 and H1/NK1, while minimizing dilution to the company's common shareholders.

Inflazyme expects to enter Phase I clinical trials with IPL576,092 in the UK before the end of June. IPL576,092 is Inflazyme's lead clinical candidate from its IPL576 class of compounds, which is based on a molecule originally isolated from a sea sponge by researchers at the University of British Columbia and the University of Alberta. Pre-clinical studies have demonstrated that IPL576,092 may have the efficacy of inhaled glucocorticoids without the related side effects.

Hoechst Marion Roussel's H1/NK1 dual antagonists combine in a single molecule an antihistamine and a neuro-peptide inhibitor. In pre-clinical studies to date, H1/NK1 dual antagonist compounds have demonstrated antagonist activity at both the H1 and NK1 receptors, which indicates that they may have the potential to relieve both the itchiness and the congestion associated with allergies.

In addition to the development agreement, Inflazyme and Hoechst Marion Roussel have agreed to collaborate on research into the mode of action and cellular targets for IPL576. The two companies will share ownership of joint discoveries from the research collaboration.

Inflazyme Pharmaceuticals Ltd. is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of drugs to treat serious inflammatory diseases such as asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, allergies, psoriasis and inflammatory bowel disease.

Hoechst Marion Roussel is the pharmaceutical company of Hoechst AG (Frankfurt, Germany).

For more information: Ian McBeath, President and CEO, Inflazyme Pharmaceuticals Ltd., Suite 425, 5600 Parkwood Way, Richmond, British Columbia V6V 2M2, Canada. Tel: 604-279-8511.