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Debiopharm and MSM Protein Technologies sign agreement for research and development of Debio 0929, a novel oncology biologic

Debiopharm Group and MSM Protein Technologies have announced the signature of an exclusive agreement for the development and commercialization of Debio 0929, an antibody targeting a G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) to be developed into a new oncology therapeutic drug.

Under the terms of the agreement, Debiopharm and MSM have formed a partnership to select antibodies against the GPCR. Upon completion of the discovery phase, MSM will grant Debiopharm a worldwide exclusive licence for the development and commercialization of the antibody. MSM will retain marketing rights for Russia, Ukraine and several other countries in Eastern Europe and Asia. MSM will receive milestone payments from Debiopharm during the development of the product, as well as a share of royalties on net sales.

‘We usually licence-in compounds with existing animal proof of concept, but we were seduced by MSM’s technology and their expertise in the generation of antibodies aimed at GPCRs,’ said Rolland-Yves Mauvernay, President and Founder of Debiopharm Group. ‘This is a win-win situation; our companies complement one another. MSM’s discovery expertise, together with our experience in drug development, should lead to innovative oncology therapeutics.’

Tajib A. Mirzabekov, Ph.D., President and CEO of MSM, commented: ‘This is a very exciting transaction for MSM. We are working with a great partner, on a very exciting and valuable target and we have the chance to launch what may be the first novel biologic in Russia through our Russian subsidiary, Meprotek. It provides a substantial validation for our technology and our team to work with a company of Debiopharm’s caliber. There is a great need in targeting of GPCRs with functionally active, high quality and potent human monoclonal antibodies.’

GPCRs comprise a large protein family of transmembrane receptors that sense molecules outside the cell and activate inside signal transduction pathways and, ultimately, cellular responses. A G protein is an intracellular membrane-associated protein, responsible for activating the signalling cascade. GPCRs are coupled to G proteins. GPCRs are the largest, most versatile group of membrane receptors and the most pharmaceutically important because more than 30% of the low-molecular weight drugs currently on the market target this kind of receptor.

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