PRINCETON, N.J. and GERMANTOWN, Md., May 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Soligenix, Inc. (OTCQB: SNGX), a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing products to treat inflammatory diseases and biodefense countermeasures where there remains an unmet medical need, announced today it will jointly develop a treatment for Melioidosis through a worldwide exclusive collaboration with Intrexon, a synthetic biology company that utilizes its proprietary technologies to provide control over cellular function.
Under this collaboration with Intrexon, Soligenix intends to develop and commercialize human monoclonal antibody therapies for new biodefense and infectious disease applications for Melioidosis using Intrexon's advanced human antibody discovery, isolation and production technologies.
Melioidosis is an often lethal disease that is endemic in Southeast Asia and Northern Australia. It is also considered a high-priority biodefense threat as defined in the 2012 Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise (PHEMCE) Strategy established by the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) with the potential for widespread dissemination through aerosol.
Melioidosis is caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei, a Gram-negative bacteria that is highly resistant to antibiotic treatment regimens. In many parts of Southeast Asia, mortality rates are as high as 40 percent, making Melioidosis the third most common cause of death from infectious disease in that region after HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.Under the agreement, Intrexon will provide discovery and development of therapeutic antibody candidates, as well as optimize and expand production of human monoclonal antibodies targeting Melioidosis by applying its proprietary platforms and technologies. Soligenix will undertake preclinical and clinical development, regulatory and government interactions, as well as the commercialization of therapeutic products. Christopher J. Schaber, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Soligenix, said the collaboration is unique because the goal is to develop a therapy that will treat both a deadly disease currently affecting millions of people as well as fight a potential biological weapon. "Our collaboration with Intrexon is consistent with our corporate strategy of building shareholder value through continuous evaluation of new product opportunities and acting upon those that meet Soligenix's mission of delivering disease-modifying therapies in areas of high unmet medical need," Dr. Schaber said. "By working with Intrexon we hope to make a potentially life-saving therapy available to patients in endemic regions and include the therapy in the national stockpiling program in case of a biowarfare event. Intrexon has a very strong track record of adding value both as a collaborator and a committed shareholder. We are very excited to join the exclusive coterie of Intrexon partner companies."