Tuesday, Nov 9, 2004
South San Francisco and Palo Alto, Calif. -- November 9, 2004 --Genentech, Inc. (NYSE: DNA) and Rinat Neuroscience, a privately held biotechnology company, today announced that Genentech has exercised its option under an agreement with Rinat to co-develop and commercialize RI 624 on a worldwide basis. RI 624 is a novel humanized monoclonal antibody that blocks nerve growth factor (NGF), a key mediator of acute and chronic pain.
RI 624 is being developed by Rinat and is currently in Phase I clinical trials.
Under the terms of Genentech's option for RI 624, Genentech and Rinat will share worldwide costs and profits for the development and commercialization of RI 624. Rinat will also receive upfront payments and an equity investment from Genentech. Genentech and Rinat will jointly participate in the development and commercialization responsibilities for RI 624.
"RI 624 is Rinat's first potential product in the clinic, and we are very pleased that Genentech will be bringing its resources and expertise to the development and potential commercialization of this antibody," said David W. Pritchard, Rinat's chief business officer. "Rinat is excited about the opportunity that RI 624 may offer for addressing part of the worldwide market for pain drugs."
"RI 624 may have applications in cancer pain, and the in-licensing of RI 624 is an example of Genentech's strategic focus on improving the treatment of patients with cancer, including their supportive care. We have been impressed with Rinat's progress over the last three years and are delighted to exercise our option for this antibody," said Joseph S. McCracken, vice president of Business Development for Genentech. "We look forward to working with Rinat on the development of this novel potential pain therapeutic."
About RI 624
"RI 624 works through a novel mechanism of action that is distinct from that of all currently approved drugs for the treatment of pain - the inhibition of NGF," said Franz Hefti, executive vice president of Development at Rinat. "While the compound is still early in development, in preclinical models of pain we saw that RI 624 demonstrated equal or better efficacy than opiates or NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). In these preclinical studies, RI 624 also demonstrated a significantly longer half-life than other pain therapeutics, on the order of two to three weeks versus typically hours to days."
NGF is a member of a family of proteins known as neurotrophins. In early stages of development, NGF plays a role in the growth of certain sensory neurons, an activity that appears to end at birth or shortly afterward. The rationale for treating pain by inhibiting NGF comes from several observations. Pain-causing injury or inflammation induces the synthesis and stimulates the release of NGF. Up-regulation of NGF appears to be a common component of the inflammatory response that initiates and sustains the pain sensation. Researchers have observed that NGF has profound direct and indirect stimulatory effects on the primary sensory neurons that mediate pain.
The NGF target was originally cloned at Genentech in 1983. Genentech later made a strategic decision to license the early stage technology to Rinat, which was more focused on this area of medicine, allowing Genentech to focus its efforts on other areas of medicine, including oncology. By humanizing Genentech's anti-NGF antibody, Rinat derived RI 624, an anti-NGF antibody which blocks NGF from binding to its target.
Genentech is a leading biotechnology company that discovers, develops, manufactures and commercializes biotherapeutics for significant unmet medical needs. A considerable number of the currently approved biotechnology products originated from or are based on Genentech science. Genentech manufactures and commercializes multiple biotechnology products directly in the United States and licenses several additional products to other companies. The company has headquarters in South San Francisco, California and is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DNA. For additional information about the company, please visit http://www.gene.com.
About Rinat Neuroscience Corporation
Rinat Neuroscience Corporation, based in Palo Alto, California, was founded in 2001 when Genentech, Inc. (NYSE: DNA), a leader in the development of therapeutic proteins, granted Rinat broad licenses to its key neuroscience assets. Genentech invested significant resources in support of these assets over 15 years, and Rinat is now building on them as the pioneer in developing and commercializing neuroscience-based protein therapeutics. For more information on Rinat, please visit www.rinatneuro.com or contact David Pritchard at (650) 213-5303.