Yissum Subsidiary Jexys Announces Research and Development Collaboration Agreement with Teva
News Dec 17, 2008
Yissum, the Technology Transfer Company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, announces that its subsidiary Jexys Pharmaceuticals has signed a strategic research and development agreement with Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd.
Under the terms of the agreement, Teva will finance Jexys' R&D program for the development of a high throughput drug discovery platform and in return will receive a minority equity interest in Jexys Pharmaceuticals.
Following the completion of the program, Teva will have the option to in-license 5 drug candidates discovered by Jexys, according to Teva's choice. This agreement is an extension of a collaborative agreement, signed in October 2006 between Jexys and Teva Pharmaceuticals.
Jexys Pharmaceuticals has developed a high throughput drug discovery platform in yeast. The company, founded by Prof. David Engelberg from the Department of Biological Chemistry, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, takes advantage of the fact that the cellular biology of yeast is very similar to that of humans. Jexys thus induces in yeast various diseases that afflict humans and uses the "sick" yeast in order to screen possible drugs.
"The novel drug discovery platform developed by Jexys takes advantage of one of the most accessible and cost-effective biological model systems, namely yeast, in order to quickly and efficiently screen potential drug candidates to treat a host of human diseases," said Nava Swersky Sofer CEO of Yissum.
"We are excited that our subsidiary, Jexys, will collaborate with Teva in further developing its innovative and promising technology. This is an important vote of confidence for Jexys, and further substantiation of the link between the Hebrew University and Teva," he continues.
The technology is suitable for a wide range of diseases caused by aberrant protein function, such as cancers, inflammations and neurodegenerative diseases. The yeast cells are engineered to express the flawed proteins, which usually inhibit the growth of the yeast cells. Therefore, drugs that restore growth are promising candidates for further, preclinical trials.