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Adeona Pharmaceuticals And Intrexon Announce Worldwide Exclusive Collaboration For Synthetic DNA-based Therapy For Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension

Stocks in this article: AEN

ANN ARBOR, Mich., and GERMANTOWN, Md., Nov. 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Adeona Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NYSE Amex: AEN), a developer of innovative disease-modifying medicines for serious illnesses, and the Human Therapeutics Division of Intrexon Corporation, a synthetic biology company that utilizes its proprietary technologies to provide control over cellular function, announced today the formation of a global exclusive channel collaboration through which Adeona intends to develop and commercialize a DNA-based therapeutic using Intrexon's UltraVector® platform and RheoSwitch Therapeutic System® for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH).

Under the collaboration, Adeona will utilize Intrexon's advanced transgene engineering platform for the controlled, precise and continuous in vivo cellular production of prostaglandin synthase (PGIS), a specific effector enzyme that regulates the production of prostacyclin. PGIS expression is decreased in the lungs of PAH patients and deficiency in prostacyclin production is strongly implicated in PAH. Prostacyclin is a short-acting vasodilator and inhibitor of platelet aggregation that has demonstrated a survival benefit in primary pulmonary hypertension patients when administered by continuous central venous catheter infusion (p<0.003).[i] DNA-based in vivo expression of PGIS has demonstrated the ability to increase prostacyclin levels and improve survival in animal models of PAH.[ii]

Intrexon employs its modular genetic engineering platform in the areas of therapeutics, protein production, animal sciences, industrial products, and agriculture products. The exclusive channel collaboration between Intrexon and Adeona has been established specifically for the in vivo production of PGIS for PAH. Under the collaboration, Intrexon will be responsible for technology discovery efforts and managing the patent estate as well as for certain aspects of manufacturing. Adeona will be responsible for conducting preclinical and clinical development of candidates, as well as for other aspects of manufacturing and the commercialization of the candidate product.

Intrexon's core synthetic biology technology is designed to create Better DNA™ at industrial scale, enabling unprecedented control over the function and output of living cells by providing external control over in vivo activation and regulation of potent effectors. This platform, called UltraVector®, provides speed, flexibility, consistency and precision to the design, production and testing of rationally designed complex transgenes and their encoded genetic circuits. These qualities allow an iterative and rational approach to transgene design, which can be continually engineered until the host cell performance is optimized. Through this process, Intrexon is able to overcome the challenges inherent in current therapeutic strategies, including recombinant protein therapies and constitutive gene therapies, thereby enhancing capabilities, improving safety and lowering cost for human therapeutics.

"Our collaboration with Intrexon is consistent with Adeona's strategy of building shareholder value through continuous evaluation of new product opportunities and acting upon those that meet Adeona's mission of delivering disease-modifying therapies for serious illnesses. We believe that this product opportunity and collaboration far and away exceeds these criteria, and we are pleased to be working with Intrexon to make this important new therapy available to PAH patients," stated Adeona's Chairman, Jeffrey Riley.

"Current sales of approved therapies for PAH are an estimated $3 billion per year. While current therapies may improve quality of life, they have for the most part shown only modest improvements in survival, if any. We believe that by having the ability to correct what is considered to be a critical pathophysiological defect in PAH, namely reduced expression of prostaglandin synthase, we may have the opportunity to fundamentally change the course of PAH. We further believe that the 'second generation' rational nature of Intrexon's genetic engineering technology provides the enabling technology necessary to make this goal a practical reality for PAH patients. We are pleased to be working with Intrexon in this exciting and potentially disease changing collaboration," stated James S. Kuo, M.D., M.B.A., Chief Executive Officer of Adeona.

"We are very pleased to collaborate with Adeona in this further demonstration of the breadth of Intrexon's UltraVector® platform and embedded controllable bioreactor approach to novel therapeutics. We are impressed with Adeona's demonstrated ability to operate efficiently and decisively and we believe these qualities will serve both parties well as we navigate through the drug development process and commercialization," stated Glenn Nedwin, President, Human Therapeutics Division at Intrexon.

Under terms of the agreement:

  • Subject to the pre-approval of the NYSE Amex, Adeona will issue to Intrexon at $0.001 par value per share, 3,123,558 shares of its common stock, representing 9.995% of Adeona's issued and outstanding shares following and after taking into account such issuance; Adeona has agreed to issue to Intrexon an equal number of additional shares of its common stock at $0.001 par value per share, representing an additional 9.995%, upon dosing of the first patient in an Adeona-sponsored U.S. Phase II clinical trial of the candidate product using Intrexon technology;
  • Intrexon has been granted the right to purchase up to 19.99% of securities offerings that may be conducted by Adeona in the future, subject to certain conditions and limitations;
  • Intrexon has been granted the right to make purchases of Adeona's common stock in the open market up to an additional 10% of Adeona's common stock; and
  • Subject to certain expense allocations, Adeona will pay Intrexon 50% of the cumulative net quarterly profits derived from the sale of products developed from the channel collaboration.

"Because of the very wide breadth of applications that our technologies may enable, we believe that we can play a democratizing role among companies within traditional life science industries and among those in other industries that look to life science to supply solutions that their existing industrial processes have been otherwise unable to provide," stated RJ Kirk, Intrexon's Chairman and CEO. "In therapeutics, in particular, we see many opportunities for game changing strategies to be deployed against indications both large and small, complex and simple. In consequence, and as part of our business strategy, we look for opportunities to align ourselves with smaller, more entrepreneurial companies around focused opportunities that may be fully explored at costs and on timelines that previously were not available. Our new collaboration with Adeona around PAH exemplifies such an alignment and we celebrate our partner's entrepreneurial spirit, vision and dedication to the service of patients as we begin the work of producing a meaningful improvement to the lives of people with this unfortunate but theoretically treatable condition."

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