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ITI Life Sciences Generates First Commercial Licence

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ITI Life Sciences has announced that it has reached its first commercial milestone with the grant of a licence to CXR Biosciences and Artemis Pharmaceuticals to use technology generated in its R&D programme developing predictive transgenic models for drug discovery and development.

The three-year £5.5m programme involving CXR Biosciences and Artemis Pharmaceuticals, which commenced in February 2005, is designed to develop novel preclinical screening and safety testing models - transgenic humanised mice.

These mouse models will be used by the pharmaceutical industry to predict the effects that drug compounds and their metabolites will have in humans before the start of human clinical trials.

The licensed models will display certain key aspects of human drug metabolism and thus allow relevant and predictive studies on drug transport, metabolism (ADMET) and gene regulation to be carried out in vivo and allow the tissue specificity of any beneficial or toxic effects of a chemical to be evaluated.

Importantly, these models will eliminate some of the species differences that result in variable drug effects between mice and humans. Therefore, they are regarded as highly relevant models for human biology.

As a result of this R&D programme, the first of a series of new models has been developed and a licence covering Europe and Japan has been granted to each of CXR Biosciences and Artemis. 

The model is expected to be sold by the two companies to pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms.

ITI Life Sciences will receive royalties on sales of the model, which will be re-invested in this and other programmes.

Dr Eleanor Mitchell, ITI Life Sciences’ acting CEO, said, "Not only does this licence represent a significant achievement for ITI Life Sciences, but it also demonstrates the international appeal of the ITI approach with close co-operation between a Scottish organisation, CXR Biosciences, and a German company, Artemis." 

"This partnership has resulted in the very rapid development of the new technology, which they have now licensed."

"Over the next year we anticipate reaching a number of commercial milestones across the R&D programmes we have commissioned to date, as well as initiating new programmes based on our market foresighting."

Dr Tom Shepherd, CEO of CXR Biosciences said, "The speed with which this R&D programme has generated its first commercially applicable technology is a result of a clearly defined project, complementary skills, a highly collaborative approach and importantly, appropriate levels of funding."

"This technology, and others we expect to be developed over the course of this programme, has the potential to transform the way new drugs are developed."

Dr Paul Rounding, Managing Director of Artemis Pharmaceuticals said, "Collaborations, such as these being initiated by ITI Life Sciences, are very important for the biotechnology industry, which is full of invention but often lacking in funds."

"Proper direction of these programmes towards ambitious but achievable commercial goals not only will benefit all participants but also provide new ways of improving the development of safe new drugs."