VANCOUVER, Feb. 15 /PRNewswire/ - iCo Therapeutics Inc. announced today
that it has selected Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: ISIS) to manufacture
and supply iCo 007. Under terms of the agreement, Isis will produce a
sufficient quantity of iCo 007 for use in all Phase I and II studies. iCo 007
is a second-generation antisense drug being developed by iCo Therapeutics for
various eye diseases caused by the formation of new blood vessels including
macular edema, diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration.
Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.
"Isis was selected as our manufacturing partner based on their expertise
and experience in antisense and oligonucleotide chemistry and manufacturing,"
said Andrew Rae, President and Chief Executive Officer of iCo Therapeutics.
"Isis' leadership in this area gives us great confidence in their ability to
produce the cGMP grade material required as we move into human clinical
testing with this compound."
iCo 007 is an antisense inhibitor of c-Raf kinase, an enzyme important in
the signal transduction pathway triggered by VEGF and other important growth
factors. In preclinical studies, antisense inhibition of c-Raf kinase was
associated with a reduction in the formation of new blood vessels in the eye,
suggesting c-Raf kinase inhibition could be valuable in the treatment of both
AMD and diabetic retinopathy. iCo plans to submit an Investigational New Drug
Application (IND) for iCo 007 to the United States Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) in the 4th quarter of 2006. iCo was licensed from Isis in
"We are pleased to be selected as iCo's manufacturing partner and look
forward to the advancement of iCo 007 into human clinical trials," said
C. Frank Bennett, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Antisense Research at Isis
Pharmaceuticals. "Licensing iCo 007 is another example of our partnering
programs to expand the reach and potential of antisense therapeutics and
participate in the success of multiple companies and products."
Antisense drugs are short, chemically-modified RNA-like and DNA-like
molecules that scientists design to complement a small, specific segment of
messenger RNA (mRNA). An antisense oligonucleotide hybridizes with a
complementary target RNA to form a duplex. The formation of this duplex
prevents the target RNA from functioning normally.
Antisense inhibitors can target specific aspects of ocular disease
processes and have ideal properties as therapies for the eye. The
second-generation 2'MOE (2'-O-methoxyethyl modified oligonucleotides) class of
compounds has been shown to exhibit favorable kinetics and excellent
tolerability. The mechanism of action of antisense drugs enables the
inhibition of genes that are not easily targeted with traditional small
molecule or antibody therapies.
ABOUT iCo THERAPEUTICS, INC.
iCo Therapeutics Inc. is an emerging, Vancouver-based biotechnology
company focused on developing pre-existing drugs for a range of new conditions
affecting isolated biological environments - areas such as the eye, spinal
cord, or joints - where locally-administered application of these therapies
would have minimal systemic distribution and fewer safety issues.
For more information, visit the company website at:
Business Development Contact: Finance/Investor
Dr. John Clement, CTO Mr. John Meekison, CFO
Elayne Wandler, ABLE Communications
SOURCE iCo Therapeutics Inc.