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Pfizer Announces Licensing Agreement with Quark

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Pfizer Inc and Quark Biotech, Inc. have announced that they have entered into an agreement under which Pfizer acquires an exclusive worldwide license to Quark's human gene RTP-801 and to molecules that modify its expression or function.

RTP-801 is involved in the development of pathologic blood vessels which accelerate the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The agreement is subject to clearance by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

"Despite advances in research and the availability of new treatment options, there remains a need for new approaches to improve the lives of patients with AMD," said Martin Mackay, Ph.D., Pfizer senior vice president Worldwide Research and Technology.

"We are excited about the potential of RTP-801 to preserve vision in patients with wet AMD who have an increased risk of progressive eye damage and vision loss."

"We are pleased that Pfizer has chosen our novel target RTP-801 and biomolecules for its drug development program," said Daniel Zurr, CEO of Quark.

"This agreement provides further recognition for Quark's creative approach to discover conceptually new drugs to treat devastating diseases."

"We are dedicated to help society with innovative medicines by moving from novel gene targets to unique compounds and eventually commercial products."

Based on pre-clinical models, it is believed that AMD can be treated by blocking the expression of the RTP-801 gene through RNA interference.