BARCELONA, Spain, March 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Grifols (MCE:GRF, MCE:GRF.P and NASDAQ:GRFS), the world's third largest plasma product manufacturer and a pioneer in the research and development of therapeutic alternatives designed to contribute to both scientific and social development, has acquired 51% of the equity of Zaragoza-based company Araclon Biotech, ensuring the viability of its projects and the future of the company. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110304/PH59473LOGO) Araclon Biotech was created in 2004 as a spin-off from the University of Zaragoza, and specializes in the research and development of therapies and diagnostic methods for neurodegenerative diseases, although it is currently focusing on Alzheimer's disease (AD), a condition for which there is no cure and of which there are around 350,000 to 380,000 sufferers in Spain and over 25 million in the world. Grifols completed the operation by acquiring a stake in the company through Gri-Cel S.A., an investment vehicle created in 2010 to promote the group's participation in fields of medicine which lie outside the scope of its main activities, such as advanced therapies. Following the purchase, Grifols has become Araclon Biotech's largest shareholder, with a 51% holding, while other founding partners retain 49% of the capital. The addition of Grifols to the shareholders of Araclon Biotech will guarantee the company's future and enable it to continue to promote its R&D projects, focusing in particular on two research lines:
- The diagnosis of AD: Using a kit patented for the detection of amyloid beta peptides (AB) 40 and 42 in the blood. Araclon Biotech is performing clinical studies with more than 400 individuals, the final results of which it is hoped will contribute to the development of a tool with 3 major applications: The early detection of AD (including in individuals with no symptoms) to monitor patients being treated for Alzheimer's disease and to improve the design of clinical trials on Alzheimer's disease.
- Treatments of AD: Based on immunotherapy. Research focused on developing a series of patented vaccines which have yielded positive results in various animal models and on which clinical trials will start soon.