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Zydus Cadila to collaborate with US-based Prolong Pharmaceuticals for drug discovery news
24 January 2008

Cadila Healthcare Ltd has entered into an agreement with US-based venture funded drug R&D firm Prolong Pharmaceuticals Inc., to collaborate on the development of a next generation therapeutic protein, 'PEG-EPO', for the treatment of severe anemia with

Severe anaemia is a condition where the hemoglobin (Hb) level or number of circulating red blood cells (RBCs) is significantly reduced. This is common in chronic renal failure (CRF), cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, some chronic inflammatory diseases, heart failure, surgical settings and critically ill patients.

The first generation drug, EPO, proved effective in the treatment of this condition. However, new advances in therapy can improve EPO's therapeutic profile, offer greater convenience, and lower treatment costs. PEG-EPO promises to be a third generation drug.

The Zydus-Prolong pact seeks to increase productivity in the drug development of this next generation therapeutic protein by leveraging the combined strengths of both Companies. Both companies will utilise Prolong's differentiated PEGylation technology to make PEG-EPO.

This joint development will help in developing an optimized drug candidate with improved therapeutic properties. Both partners will also be equitably sharing risk and reward for this collaborative programme.

PEGylation is the only FDA-approved protein delivery technology that transforms proteins into superior drug products, by attaching a polyethylene glycol (PEG) polymer to a therapeutic protein. This process results in an improved product with significantly enhance potency, fewer side effects, and a reduced dosing frequency.

Zydus Cadila will leverage its expertise in carrying out a focused drug development programme starting from pre-clinical candidate selection, filing of the investigational new drug, undertaking pre-clinical studies and human clinical trials and marketing it in mutually agreed upon territories globally. The collaborative programme will bring an edge to Zydus' global biologics strategy with the introduction of an improved biologic product.

"This collaboration will enable Prolong to capitalise on the cost effective drug development capabilities that India offers," said Dr Abe Abuchowski, president and COO.

Pankaj Patel, chairman and managing director, Zydus Cadila, said, "This deal marks Zydus's foray into the area of novel improved biologicals. There is a strong unmet medical need in this space, and we are committed to discover, develop and provide better as well as safer alternatives to patients at affordable prices."

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Zydus Cadila to collaborate with US-based Prolong Pharmaceuticals for drug discovery