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    NATAP http://natap.org/ ... Controlled Release Interferon Biolex Therapeutics Raises $30 Million Series C in Venture Capital. The financing was led by Investor
    Message 1 of 1 , May 26, 2007
      NATAP http://natap.org/


      Controlled Release Interferon

      Biolex Therapeutics Raises $30 Million Series C in Venture Capital.
      The financing was led by Investor Growth Capital.

      Locteronâ"¢: A Next Generation Controlled-Release Formulation of Alfa Interferon

      Biolex' lead product, Locteronâ"¢, has successfully completed Phase 1 clinical trials. The results support dosing every two weeks, a substantial improvement over currently marketed pegylated interferons that require hepatitis C patients to dose every week. Locteron's Phase 1 results also demonstrated the potential for an improved side effect profile over current therapies. Flu-like symptoms among the groups receiving Locteron in the study were reported to be less frequent, less severe and of shorter duration than in the subjects receiving PEG-INTRON. Phase 2 clinical trials are to begin in 2006.

      Biolex is co-developing Locteron in collaboration with the drug delivery and development company OctoPlus, initially for the treatment of hepatitis C. Locteron combines BLX-883, a recombinant alfa interferon produced by Biolex in its patented LEX SystemSM, with PolyActiveâ"¢, an advanced drug delivery technology developed by OctoPlus.

      More than 4 million people in the United States, and more than 200 million people worldwide, are currently infected with hepatitis C. The standard treatment for hepatitis C is pegylated, or long-acting, alfa interferon administered in combination with the anti-viral drug ribavirin. The size of the hepatitis C market for interferon is currently $3 billion, and according to independent market research modified interferons will continue to be a key component of therapy for hepatitis C patients, with interferon sales expected to exceed $5 billion in 2014. The currently available pegylated alfa interferon products require administration once per week for up to 48 weeks and are associated with substantial side effects, particularly during the period following each administration.

      In addition to supporting dosing every two weeks, Phase 1 pharmacokinetic results indicated that the administration of Locteron resulted in the linear release of interferon without a â?oburst effect.â? This undesirable burst effect is typically observed with currently marketed pegylated and non-pegylated interferons, and is potentially associated with side effects such as flu-like symptoms. Flu-like symptoms among the groups receiving Locteron in the study were reported to be less frequent, less severe and of shorter duration than in the subjects receiving PEG-INTRON. Also measured in the study were biomakers such as 2',5' oligoadenylate synthetase (OAS) and neopterin, enzymes commonly associated with the biological effects of interferon. Researchers reported the administration of Locteron resulted in sustained biomarker levels equal or greater than those measured in the PEG-INTRON arm of the study. Furthermore, Locteron was demonstrated to be biologically active over two weeks, supporting the once-every-two week dose regimen proposed for this product candidate.

      Pittsboro, NC - Biolex Therapeutics, a privately held biopharmaceutical company, announced today the closing of a $30 million Series C financing. The financing was led by Investor Growth Capital of New York and included the participation of two other new investors, JP Morgan Securities, Inc. and Easton Capital. The financing was oversubscribed and included strong participation from existing shareholders including Quaker BioVentures, Polaris Venture Partners, Intersouth Partners, Mitsui & Co. Venture Partners, Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation and Dow Venture Capital. The funds will be used primarily to advance Biolex's lead drug candidate Locteronâ"¢ into Phase 3 clinical development in hepatitis C, and to advance the Company's other drug candidates.

      The Company also announced that Sunny Sharma, M.D., Vice President with Investor Growth Capital, has joined the Biolex Board of Directors.

      "The response to this financing was outstanding and we believe that the additional expertise and resources of our new investors will complement the strong investor group that has supported the advancement of Biolex to date," said Jan Turek, Biolex's President and Chief Executive Officer. "We welcome Dr. Sharma to our Board of Directors and look forward to his contribution to this very experienced group that has been a great resource to Biolex."

      "We are pleased to be a part of the Biolex story, which has some very interesting product and platform attributes," said Sunny Sharma, M.D. "Locteron has the potential to be a best-in-class interferon for the treatment of hepatitis C. We are also very excited about the Company's glycosylation optimization technology and its application in various product opportunities."

      About Biolex Therapeutics
      Biolex Therapeutics is developing and commercializing therapeutic proteins based on the LEX System(SM), its patented expression system that enables the production of hard-to-make proteins and the optimization of monoclonal antibodies. The Company is developing a proprietary pipeline of products that rely upon known mechanisms of action to provide a reduced risk profile while targeting large, proven pharmaceutical markets. Biolex's lead clinical candidate, Locteronâ"¢, is being developed as a best-in-class controlled-release interferon alfa for the treatment of hepatitis C and is currently in Phase 2 testing. The Company's second product candidate, BLX- 155, is a direct-acting thrombolytic, designed to break up clots in certain diseases such as acute peripheral arterial disease, deep vein thrombosis and catheter occlusion. In addition, the unique capabilities of the LEX System have led to collaborations with Centocor, Medarex, Genmab and other leading pharmaceutical/biotech companies. Biolex is a venture capital- backed company located in the Research Triangle region of North Carolina, United States.

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