Athersys has announced that the company has achieved important milestones in commercial collaborations with Bristol-Myers Squibb Company and Angiotech Pharmaceuticals, Inc. demonstrating the successful application of its technologies to drug discovery and triggering milestone-related payments.
As part of a collaboration initiated in 2001 with Bristol-Myers Squibb, Athersys continues to apply its proprietary RAGE® technology to provide Bristol-Myers Squibb with validated drug targets for high throughput screening and lead optimization.
Over the course of the multi-year partnership, Athersys has successfully delivered drug targets to Bristol-Myers Squibb from distinct target classes and in a variety of therapeutic areas.
These targets provide the foundation for several active drug development programs at Bristol-Myers Squibb. Recently, Bristol-Myers Squibb has submitted an IND for a compound discovered using a RAGE target, triggering the first clinical milestone payment related to the collaboration.
“We remain committed to supporting our partnership with Bristol-Myers Squibb and are delighted that the RAGE technology is playing a useful role in our partner’s drug discovery efforts,” said John Harrington, Ph.D., Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer.
“In addition to the milestone payment to Athersys, the advancement of a compound to the IND stage represents an important technical milestone and further demonstrates the value of the RAGE technology in the drug discovery process. At Athersys, the RAGE technology continues to provide a foundation for our own drug discovery and development programs.”
As result of a Cardiovascular Stem Cell partnership established with Angiotech in 2006, Athersys and Angiotech are collaborating to develop and commercialize cell-based therapies for cardiovascular disease using MultiStem®, Athersys’ proprietary non-embryonic stem cell product.
Initially, the partners are developing MultiStem to treat heart attack patients, a condition that affects more than one million people per year in the U.S. alone.
During this past year, Athersys has completed multiple animal studies demonstrating that MultiStem can be safely delivered to the heart via catheter and provide functional benefit in models of acute myocardial infarction.
The company has also completed GMP manufacturing scale-up to support a phase I trial in humans. As a result of this progress, Athersys has reached a milestone resulting in additional funding from Angiotech’s ADDVANCE division.
“Based on the pre-clinical safety and efficacy data generated to date, we are very enthusiastic about the use of MultiStem to treat heart attack victims,” said Robert Deans, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Regenerative Medicine.
“Once we complete final safety studies, we intend to initiate a phase I trial to evaluate MultiStem in patients following an acute myocardial infarction.”