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Biovitrum Enters Development Agreement with Swedish Biotech Company Synphora



The biopharma company Biovitrum, listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange since September 15, 2006, has entered an agreement with the Uppsala-based biotech company Synphora regarding a new drug candidate (JB991) for the treatment of the skin disease psoriasis and other conditions.
JB991 is a prostaglandin derivative, i. e. a substance which is based on prostaglandin, a local hormone that naturally occurs in the body and plays an important role for the control of inflammation. JB991 is in development by Synphora and emanates from the company’s vast knowledge base and experience in prostaglandin-dependent mechanisms. The project is currently undergoing a clinical Phase I study.

Under the terms of the agreement Biovitrum will co-finance Synphora’s ongoing study and, if the study is successful, also the following Phase II study with a maximum of SEK five million in total. Synphora remains fully responsible for developing JB991 up to and including clinical phase IIa. In return for the investment Biovitrum will after Phase IIa , under certain provisions, be entitled to acquire the project according to predetermined terms.

“Inflammation is one of Biovitrum’s core therapy areas and we are currently developing other projects targeting skin conditions. This project also fits our strategy to focus on therapies where the unmet medical need is large,” says Anders Ullman, Biovitrums’ Senior Vice President R&D. “We are confident that Synphora is highly qualified to bring this product to a stage where the concept can be tested on psoriasis patients.”

Psoriasis is an inherited skin disease characterized by plaques of inflamed and thickened skin. About 1-2% of the population suffers from this chronic condition. Treatment is usually local, on the skin, with salve/cream containing different pharmaceuticals, most prominently corticosteroids. In addition, severe psoriasis is often treated with oral medication or injections containing novel biological medicines.

Biovitrum is one of the largest biopharma companies in Europe. With operations in Sweden and in the UK Biovitrum conducts research and develops pharmaceuticals for unmet medical needs both for common diseases and conditions that affect smaller patient populations. Biovitrum focuses on drugs for the treatment of obesity, diabetes, inflammation and blood and eye diseases as well as a number of well defined niche indications. Biovitrum develops and produces protein-based drugs on a contractual basis and markets a range of specialist pharmaceuticals primarily in the Nordic countries. Biovitrum has approximately revenues of USD 119 million and 550 employees. Biovitrum is listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange since September 15, 2006. For more information see

Synphora AB was established in 1998 by Johan Stjernschantz, Bahram Resul and Iréne Aspman. The founders of the company are previous employees of Pharmacia-Upjohn, and held key positions in the Xalatan® project of Pharmacia. Xalatan®, with 1.3 billion US dollar sales in 2004, acquired by Pfizer, was the first prostaglandin analogue developed for glaucoma treatment. Johan Stjernschantz, Professor of Pharmacology and Drug Development, and Bahram Resul, Associate Professor of Medicinal Chemistry, are the inventors of latanoprost, the active principle of Xalatan®. The R&D activities of the company are entirely based on prostaglandin technology, the work being conducted primarily through outsourcing. The personnel of the company have unique competence in prostanoid chemistry, pharmacology, clinical research, regulatory and intellectual property matters. The company is currently pursuing two projects in clinical phase.


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