Yissum and Eucalyptus Sign Licensing Agreement for the Development of a Small Molecule...

Tue Jan 8, 2008 7:00am EST

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Yissum and Eucalyptus Sign Licensing Agreement for the Development of a Small Molecule for the Treatment of Neurodegenerative Diseases

   Molecule is an Antioxidant That Overcomes the Blood-Brain Barrier
JERUSALEM--(Business Wire)--Yissum Ltd., the technology transfer company of the Hebrew
University of Jerusalem, today announced that it has licensed an
orally-available small molecule for several biological indications
including the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases to Eucalyptus
Ltd. The molecule is an antioxidant that overcomes the blood-brain
barrier.

   "This invention, by Professor Daphne Atlas, jointly developed with
Dr. Daniel Offen and Professor Eldad Melamed, is a breakthrough in the
treatment of oxidative stress, which plays a major role in CNS
disorders," stated Nava Swersky Sofer, CEO of Yissum. "We are
delighted to collaborate with Professor Ashley Bush, CSO, Eucalyptus,
a leading expert in Alzheimer's research to take our invention into
the clinic for the benefit of patients."

   Under the terms of the agreement, Eucalyptus has acquired
worldwide exclusive rights to develop and commercialize the molecule
and Yissum together with Ramot, the technology transfer company of Tel
Aviv University, and Mor Research Applications, the technology
transfer company of Clalit Health Services, will receive upfront
payments, milestone payments in accordance with development progress
and royalties from sales of final products.

   The molecule, N-acetylcysteine amide (AD4), is an antioxidant for
the prevention and treatment of Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, multiple
sclerosis and other neurodegenerative diseases that are linked to
oxidative stress, and also has broader applications in biology.
Oxidative stress, induced by free radicals, plays an important role in
the progression of neurodegenerative and age-related diseases, causing
damage to proteins, DNA, and lipids. For example, increasing evidence
correlates Parkinson's disease with the accumulation of oxidative
damage in specific neurons in the brain. AD4 is administered orally,
and is able to cross the blood-brain barrier, thus overcoming a major
obstacle of central nervous system (CNS) directed drugs.

   Pre-clinical data showed the ability of AD4 to protect cells in
culture from oxidative damage. Furthermore, the molecule was shown to
protect neuronal cells from damage in rodent models of both
Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis. The low toxicity of AD4,
as evidenced in the lab, together with its neuroprotective function
and high bioavailability make it highly suitable for the treatment of
CNS disorders.

   The molecule was invented by Daphne Atlas, Ph.D., Professor of
Neurochemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. The work
was performed in collaboration with Dr. Daniel Offen, Ph.D. from the
Tel Aviv University, Israel and Eldad Melamed, MD, Professor and
Chairman of the Department of Neurology at the Rabin Medical Center,
Petah Tiqva, Israel.

   "In our aging society, in which neurodegenerative diseases have
become more common, there is a growing need for safe and effective
drugs for age-related diseases. AD4 which overcomes the blood-brain
barrier, is an excellent candidate for both the prevention and
treatment of various neurodegenerative disorders," commented Prof.
Daphne Atlas.

   Professor Ashley Bush, CSO, Eucalyptus, added "We are excited to
be able to progress the pioneering work of our Israeli collaborators
towards commercialization. I am very confident that AD4 will be
therapeutically useful for several major neurological disorders,
certain major psychiatric conditions as well as several other
biological applications. I expect this to be a rapid development
project."

   About Yissum

   Yissum was founded in 1964 to protect the Hebrew University's
intellectual property and commercialise it. $1 Billion in annual sales
are generated by products based on Hebrew University technologies
licensed out by Yissum. Ranked among the top technology transfer
companies in the world, Yissum has registered 5000 patents covering
1400 inventions; licensed out 400 technologies and spun out 60
companies. Yissum's business partners span the globe and include
companies such as Novartis, Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson, Merck,
Intel, Teva and many more. For further information please visit
www.yissum.co.il.

Yissum Ltd.
Tsipi Haitovsky, Media Liaison, +972-52-598-9892
tsipih@netvision.net.il

Copyright Business Wire 2008
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