Neoprobe Corporation (NYSE Amex: NEOP) today announced that it has in-licensed the worldwide exclusive rights from AstraZeneca to the late-stage radiopharmaceutical imaging candidate, AZD4694, for aiding the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). AZD4694 is a Fluorine-18 labeled precision radiopharmaceutical candidate for use in the imaging and evaluation of patients with signs or symptoms of cognitive impairment such as AD. It binds to Beta-amyloid deposits in the brain that can then be imaged in positron emission tomography (PET) scans. Amyloid plaque pathology is a required feature of AD diagnosis and the presence of amyloid pathology is a supportive feature for diagnosis of probable AD. Patients who are negative for amyloid pathology do not have AD. Clinical studies in more than 70 patients suggest that AZD4694 has the ability to image patients quickly and safely with high sensitivity. Importantly, AZD4694 exhibits low background and white matter uptake, thereby providing clear images of Beta-amyloid deposits. Neoprobe intends to initiate a Phase III clinical program in early 2013, while simultaneously building the requisite safety and training database. Patents and patent applications filed around the world related to AZD4694 are effective until 2028. “To gain the recognition of AstraZeneca through a rigorous licensing process and secure such a promising late-stage imaging asset is a strong endorsement of our development capability and focus,” commented Neoprobe’s Executive Vice President and Chief Business Officer, Thomas Tulip, Ph.D. “We believe AZD4694 has a compelling global commercial outlook and should beneficially facilitate development of more effective disease-modifying therapies for Alzheimer´s disease. This potentially powerful second-generation agent with apparent best-in-class properties has demonstrated strong performance attributes. We believe AZD4694 imaging may be quite useful as an adjunct measure in the diagnosis of this large, growing disease and may allow patients to seek earlier, and therefore potentially more effective, treatment options.” “The discovery and development of new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease is a top priority for AstraZeneca. This alliance couples Neoprobe’s expertise in diagnostic imaging with our own expertise in the discovery and development of innovative medicines, and will further expand our ability to evaluate new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease in the future,” said Christer Köhler, Vice President and Head of CNS & Pain Innovative Medicines at AstraZeneca.
Shares of Neoprobe Corporation (AMEX:NEOP) were gapping up Thursday morning with an open price 17.9% higher than Wednesday's closing price. The stock closed at $2.63 yesterday and opened today's trading at $3.10.