Circadian Technologies Limited Announces Major Development Agreement With Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and Licentia Limited - New Jointly-Owned Company, Vegenics Limited, to Focus on Development of

VEGF Antagonists as Anti-Tumor Agents -

- Capital Raise via ASX Listing or Private Equity Planned Within 12 months

-



MELBOURNE, Australia, NEW YORK and HELSINKI, Finland, May 1

/PRNewswire- FirstCall/ -- Circadian Technologies Limited (ASX: CIR) today
 announced that, in collaboration with one of the world's leading cancer
 research organizations, the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research ("LICR")
 and the commercial arm of the University of Helsinki, Licentia Ltd.
 ("Licentia"), it has formed a new company, Vegenics Limited ("Vegenics"),
 to develop and commercialize the intellectual property and technology of
 LICR and Licentia with respect to molecules known as Vascular Endothelial
 Growth Factors (VEGF).
     Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors are a family of proteins that play
 an important role in promoting the growth of new blood vessels and
 maintenance of existing blood vessels. The approach of inhibiting VEGF and
 thus restricting blood and nutrient supply to tumours has potential in the
 treatment of cancer.
     Circadian will make an initial equity injection of A$4 million into
 Vegenics, which will be 50% owned by Circadian and 50% by LICR and
 Licentia. Vegenics will initially focus on developing peptide and antibody
 antagonists to two forms of VEGF (VEGF-C and VEGF-D) as anti-tumour agents.
     It is currently the intention of Vegenics to raise a minimum of A$16
 million additional new equity within 12 months, by way of an ASX listing or
 private equity raising at a market capitalisation in excess of A$50
 million.
     Commenting on the transaction Mr. Edward A. McDermott Jr., President
 and SEO of LICR stated, "We are very excited by the opportunity to work
 with one of the pioneers of the Australian biotechnology industry, in a
 close and collaborative manner. We look forward to advancing LICR's cancer
 discovery program to potential clinical development. The Circadian model,
 which is now represented in the Vegenics collaboration, is one that has
 great appeal to research discovery organizations such as ours who need
 vehicles to translate basic and important discoveries into products that
 benefit cancer patients."
     Dr. Timo Tormala, CEO of Licentia Ltd. commented, "The work undertaken
 by Professor Kari Alitalo and his colleagues in Helsinki and Doctors Steven
 Stacker and Marc Achen in Melbourne is recognized as being seminal to the
 field of angiogenesis. We are delighted that we can now move to translate
 these discoveries into clinical candidates through the Vegenics
 collaboration."
     Mr. Leon Serry, Managing Director of Circadian noted, "Circadian has,
 over its 21 years, been totally committed to working with the excellence of
 the medical research community in early stage discoveries. The teams at
 LICR and the University of Helsinki are world leaders in their fields who
 share our passion to provide better and safer medicines for cancer
 patients. We believe that targeting tumor angiogenesis, as we will do in
 the Vegenics development plan, may provide better treatments in cancer
 therapy in the forthcoming years."
     In February 2004, Avastin(R), a therapeutic antibody designed by
 Genentech Inc. to inhibit VEGF-A, received FDA approval as a first-line
 combination therapy for patients with metastatic cancer of the colon or
 rectum. Genentech advised in January 2006 that 2005 US sales of Avastin
 were US$1.1 billion, up from US$500 million in 2004.
     LICR and Licentia have developed an extensive patent portfolio covering
 VEGF-C and VEGF-D and antagonists to these molecules over the past 10 years
 arising from discoveries made by LICR Melbourne Branch scientists,
 Associate Professor Steven Stacker and Associate Professor Marc Achen and
 Professor Kari Alitalo of the University of Helsinki. LICR and Licentia
 have exclusively licensed to Vegenics all of their jointly owned technology
 covering VEGF-C and VEGF-D antagonists as therapeutic and diagnostic
 agents, subject to Vegenics raising A$16 million of new equity within 24
 months and subject to the rights of existing licensees.
     The licence and shareholder agreements between the parties are subject
 to patent and legal due diligence being completed by Vegenics by the end of
 June 2006.
     The licensed patent family comprises more than 50 granted patents in
 the US, Europe, Japan and Australia and over 400 pending patent
 applications worldwide.
     In consideration of the transaction LICR and Licentia have agreed to
 share with Vegenics any licensing or royalty income they receive from
 existing third party licences under the IP estate.
     The Board of Vegenics will be chaired by Mr. Leon Serry, Managing
 Director of Circadian, and will comprise Mr. Robert Klupacs of Circadian as
 Managing Director; Mr. Graeme Kaufman of Circadian as Executive Director;
 Dr. Jonathan Skipper, Executive Director for Intellectual Property and
 Licensing, LICR; Dr. Andrew Simpson, Executive Director for Programs and
 Operations, LICR; and Dr. Timo Tormala, President and CEO of Licentia Ltd.,
 as Non-Executive Directors.
     About LICR
     The Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research is a global non-profit
 organization committed to improving the understanding and control of cancer
 through integrated laboratory and clinical discovery employing over 800
 scientists in Branches throughout North and South America, Europe and
 Australia. Leveraging its worldwide network of investigators and the
 ability to sponsor and conduct its own clinical trials, LICR is actively
 engaged in translating its discoveries into applications for human benefit.
     About Licentia
     Licentia Oy commercialises technologies with IP protection originating
 from Finnish research institutes and universities, either through licensing
 or start-up companies. Since its establishment in 2001, Licentia has
 concluded over 70 licence and related contracts, which have generated
 income in millions of euros to universities and inventors.
     About Circadian
     Circadian Technologies Limited (ASX: CIR) was listed on the Australian
 Stock Exchange in 1985 and provides management and funding for the
 development and commercialisation of Australian biomedical research. It
 aims to identify high potential scientific research projects from within
 Australian universities and research institutes, focussing on opportunities
 that have the potential to address large markets or significant unmet
 medical needs. Circadian is able to provide funds for further project
 development, in addition to providing the management expertise that is
 essential if the project is to meet its goal of commercialisation.
     Circadian has shareholdings in Optiscan Imaging Limited, Metabolic
 Pharmaceuticals Limited and Antisense Therapeutics Limited, companies in
 which Circadian has been involved in providing management, funding and
 assistance in their listing. Circadian is also the largest shareholder in
 Zenyth Therapeutics Limited, an Australian pharmaceutical research company,
 and a major shareholder in Avexa Limited.
     In addition to retaining shareholdings in these companies, Circadian
 maintains an active research and development program. Its core
 neurosciences research projects aim to develop a new treatment specifically
 for Alzheimer's disease, to develop novel compounds based on Paracetamol,
 to develop a family of new analgesics and to develop compounds with
 potential for enhancing memory. Its core cancer project portfolio includes
 a genomics based technology for identification of the primary source of
 cancers, a novel technology for identification of cancer markers, and the
 development of peptide based cancer vaccines. In addition, Circadian has an
 extensive patent portfolio in an emerging technology in gene testing (known
 as in situ hybridisation) and recently announced a collaboration with
 Monash University in respect of the development of a method of replacing
 internal molecular linkages known as disulphide bonds with more stable
 carbon bonds, in a highly specific fashion.
     Contacts:
 
      US Media
      Phyllis Camesano                     Ivette Almeida
      The Global Consulting Group          The Global Consulting Group
      Tel: (716) 759-0635                  Tel: (646) 284-9455
      Email: pcamesano@hfgcg.com           Email: ialmeida@hfgcg.com
 
      US Investors
      Kathy Price
      The Global Consulting Group
      Tel: (646) 284-9430
      Email: kprice@hfgcg.com
 
      Circadian Technologies Limited
      Mr. Leon Serry                       Mr. Graeme Kaufman
      Managing Director                    Executive Director
      Tel: +61 3 98260399                  +61 3 98260399
 
      Mr. Robert Klupacs
      Manager, Strategic Development
      +61 3 98260399
 
 

SOURCE Circadian Technologies Limited

Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

 

PR Newswire Membership

Fill out a PR Newswire membership form or contact us at (888) 776-0942.

Learn about PR Newswire services

Request more information about PR Newswire products and services or call us at (888) 776-0942.