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Abraxis BioScience and The Scripps Research Institute Enter Exclusive Licensing Agreement

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Abraxis BioScience, Inc. and The Scripps Research Institute (TRSI) announced the organizations have entered an exclusive licensing agreement for the worldwide development and commercialization of a epothilone therapeutic for the treatment of cancer.

Epothilones belong to a new class of microtubule-stabilizing agents, which bind to the tubulin pathway to inhibit the growth and proliferation of cancer cells.

Under the terms of the agreement, Abraxis has rights to eleven potential drug candidates for pre-clinical evaluation and selection of a lead candidate for clinical development. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Abraxis will evaluate the therapeutic potential of TSRI’s epothilones using its proprietary nab™ technology platform, which harnesses the natural properties of the human protein albumin to transport and deliver therapeutic agents to the site of disease.

The nab platform eliminates the need for toxic solvents such as Cremophor EL®, which are used with other epothilones in development to allow the administration of the anticancer agent into the bloodstream. Serious side effects have been associated with the use of solvents.

“We are excited to enter into this exclusive agreement with The Scripps Research Institute, which enables Abraxis to expand its rapidly growing oncology pipeline with the addition of a novel epothilone therapy,” said Neil P. Desai, Ph.D., vice president of research and development at Abraxis BioScience.

“Abraxis is committed to the development of progressive cancer therapeutics and we look forward to initiating studies to evaluate this new class of cancer agents with our nabTM platform,” Desai added.

“Our preliminary research suggests the epothilones targeted for development by Abraxis BioScience are some of the most potent agents in this new class of drugs,” said K.C. Nicolaou, Ph.D., chair, department of chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute.

“Abraxis has a strong track record in the development and commercialization of cancer therapeutics. We are excited about our collaboration, which will enable further study of these novel epothilone agents.”