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Alize Pharma Launches the PREMAG Research Program

Published: Friday, January 04, 2013
Last Updated: Friday, January 04, 2013
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This EUR four million collaborative project is aimed at extending the therapeutic potential of AZP-531, Alize Pharma’s unacylated ghrelin analog, to cardioprotection and cachexia.

Alize Pharma has announced the launch of the PREMAG collaborative research program. This program will be conducted within a consortium of partners focusing on the development of AZP-531, Alize Pharma’s unacylated ghrelin analog and biomarkers; for therapeutic applications in muscular protection and regeneration.

The PREMAG project brings together five partners from both the private and academic sectors, having complementary multidisciplinary expertise:
• Alize Pharma, leader of the project
• The team of Prof. Michel Ovize, head of the cardiology department at the Hospices Civils de Lyon and head of the cardioprotection group at the CarMeN (Cardiology, Metabolism and Nutrition) unit of Inserm, the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research, in Lyon (Inserm 1060)
• The team of Prof. Jeanne-Marie Bonnet, professor of physiology at the VetAgro Sup in Lyon (Lyon School of Veterinary Medicine)
• Ricerca Biosciences, a contract research organization located near Lyon and specialized in the preclinical safety assessment of drug candidates
• Bertin Pharma, near Paris, a company specialized in the development of analytical methods and biomarkers.

Promising preliminary results have already been obtained by Alize Pharma and independent research groups in the fields of cardioprotection and muscle regeneration.

On this basis, the PREMAG project aims at extending the therapeutic potential of AZP-531, an unacylated ghrelin analog, to additional indications such as the cardiovascular complications of diabetes, cardioprotection following ischemia-reperfusion and cachexia associated with chronic diseases.

This collaborative research will involve the implementation of clinically relevant experimental models and biomarkers. The results could lead to the start of clinical trials in these indications.

The PREMAG program focuses on clinical indications with high unmet medical needs. Cardiac reperfusion injury occurs after reperfusion (the restoration of blood flow) following myocardial infarction and represents approximately 40 per cent of the final size of the infarction. There is currently no treatment for reducing reperfusion injury.

Cachexia is characterized by muscle loss and is typically associated with a chronic disease. It can be associated with chronic heart failure, a long-term complication of myocardial infarction. There is presently no approved treatment for this condition.

The EUR 3.9 million PREMAG project has been accredited by the Lyonbiopole and Medicen competitive clusters. It will be financed in part by grants of up to EUR 1.5 million from the French government’s Single Interministerial Fund (FUI), the Rhone-Alpes region, Greater Lyon and the European Regional Development Fund (FEDER). These grants were obtained through the 14th call for FUI R&D projects.

“We are very pleased to launch the collaborative PREMAG project with partners that are undisputed leaders in their respective fields and are grateful to the public authorities for their financial support,” said Alize Pharma’s president, Thierry Abribat.

Abribat continued, “The results will allow us to explore new indications for AZP-531, our unacylated ghrelin analog that will soon enter clinical development in type II diabetes and the Prader Willi syndrome. This project matches the ambitions we have for our product and will help to speed up its development.”

“There is a great medical need in the area of post-infarction reperfusion and cachexia,” said Prof. Michel Ovize, head of the cardiology department at the Cardiology and Pneumonology Hospital in Lyon.

Prof. Ovize continued, “There is no approved treatment at the moment for the targeted indications. The unacylated ghrelin analog approach is promising on the basis of its mechanism of action and the available results.”

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