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Santhera Licenses Melanocortin-4 Receptor Antagonist Program to BioLineRx

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Santhera Pharmaceuticals announced an exclusive license agreement with BioLineRx, covering Santhera's pre-clinical melanocortin-4 receptor (MC-4R) antagonist program currently in development for the treatment of cancer cachexia.

Under the agreement, BioLineRx acquires all rights to develop, sub-license and commercialize the compound. BioLineRx will cover all future costs of the program. Santhera will receive 22% to 25% of all BioLineRx's sub-licensing income or royalties on future sales by BioLineRx. The out-licensing deal is in line with Santhera's strategy to focus on its core late stage or marketed assets: Catena®, fipamezole and omigapil.

The preclinical activity spectrum of orally active MC-4R antagonists indicates beneficial efficacy in all key aspects of cachexia such as lack of appetite, increased resting energy expenditure and enhanced catabolism. The latest generation of compounds increased food intake 3- to 5-fold and inhibited the development of cachexia in a disease-relevant animal tumor model.

"We received considerable interest in this program and concluded that BioLineRx is the best partner for development of our selective, first-in-class MC-4R antagonists based on their excellent track record in developing similar stage assets to proof-of-concept in man," said Klaus Schollmeier, Chief Executive Officer of Santhera. "This agreement with BioLineRx fits well with Santhera's strategy to focus on its core late stage or marketed assets Catena®, fipamezole and omigapil."