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LEO Pharma In-Licenses Worldwide Rights for Preclinical HDAC Inhibitor from TopoTarget and CuraGen


Exclusive worldwide rights for dermatological disorders licensed from TopoTarget and CuraGen.

LEO Pharma, TopoTarget and CuraGen announced 2 November 2006 the grant of a license to a preclinical HDAC inhibitor to LEO Pharma, one of the world’s leading companies in dermatology. LEO Pharma is granted exclusive worldwide rights to develop, manufacture, and commercialize a novel preclinical HDAC inhibitor for the treatment of psoriasis and other dermatological disorders.

The agreement
Under the terms of the agreement between TopoTarget and LEO Pharma, TopoTarget will receive initial payments totalling € 2,000,000 (approximately US$2.6 million). In addition, TopoTarget is eligible to receive additional milestone payments of up to € 32,000,000 (approximately US$40.8 million), and tiered royalties of up to two digit figures on any future product sales.

Under the terms of the existing agreement between TopoTarget and CuraGen, CuraGen will receive 50% of all payments received by TopoTarget under the licensing agreement between TopoTarget and LEO Pharma.

Potential treatment for psoriasis
“Licensing of this compound to LEO Pharma represents yet another important milestone for TopoTarget in 2006, a year in which our first product, Savene™, was launched. LEO Pharma is one of the world’s leading companies in dermatology and has been a very strong player in the field for decades. We feel comfortable with having the development of PXD118490 (LEO80140) for dermatological disorders in the hands of LEO. We are very content with the ongoing collaboration with CuraGen to further develop our library of preclinical HDAC inhibitors and we believe it has shown to be very productive” said Dr. Peter Buhl Jensen, Chief Executive Officer of TopoTarget.

“This partnership with LEO Pharma highlights both the potential of HDAC inhibitors in a number of different therapeutic areas, and CuraGen’s commitment to realize value from its assets while maintaining its focus on becoming a leading oncology company,” commented Dr. Frank Armstrong, President and Chief Executive Officer of CuraGen Corporation.

“LEO Pharma very much welcomes this opportunity to partner with TopoTarget and CuraGen on the use of HDAC inhibitors as a potential treatment for psoriasis since this fits well with the ambition of LEO Pharma to become the world leading company in the area of dermatology” said CEO of LEO Pharma, Ernst Lunding.

Developing the compound
A research collaboration between TopoTarget, Curagen and LEO Pharma has resulted in the selection of this out-licensed preclinical compound, which has been extensively characterized by the parties in biochemical and cell assays, as well as in animal models of psoriasis. In addition to its biological activity, the compound possesses excellent drug-like characteristics that are important for future clinical development.

The compound was developed under an ongoing Future Products program between TopoTarget and CuraGen aimed at identifying promising HDAC inhibitors. HDAC inhibitors work by altering levels of gene transcription and have been shown to regulate multiple key processes involved in cancer and inflammatory diseases, as well as other indications. Accordingly, there are a number of skin disorders that could potentially benefit from this promising preclinical compound.

This license agreement does not change TopoTarget’s financial expectations for full-year 2006.

Background information

About TopoTarget
TopoTarget is a biopharmaceutical company, headquartered in Denmark and with subsidiaries in the UK, Germany and the USA, dedicated to finding ’’Answers for Cancer’’ and developing improved cancer therapies. TopoTarget is founded and run by clinical cancer specialists and combines years of hands-on clinical experience with in-depth understanding of the molecular mechanisms of cancer. Focus lies on highly predictive cancer models and key cancer enzyme regulators (mainly HDAC, mTOR, and topoisomerase II inhibitors) and a strong development foundation has been built. TopoTarget has a broad portfolio of small molecule preclinical drug candidates and seven drugs are in clinical development, including both novel anti-cancer therapeutics and new cancer indications for existing drugs. Savene™ is TopoTarget’s first product on the market. In addition to organic growth, TopoTarget consistently looks for opportunities to strengthen and expand its activities through acquisitions and in-licensing. For more information, please refer to

About CuraGen
CuraGen Corporation is a biopharmaceutical company developing diverse approaches, including novel protein, antibody, and small molecule therapeutics that aim to offer hope for patients with cancer. CuraGen’s strategic alliances have resulted in a deep pipeline of potential therapeutics that is being developed by the Company’s experienced research and development teams. By leveraging the drug development strengths cultivated over the years, CuraGen expects to make a difference in the lives of patients by bringing forward promising therapeutics that address unmet medical needs. To further capitalize on CuraGen’s extensive research and development expertise, CuraGen founded a majority-owned subsidiary, 454 Life Sciences, which has developed and is commercializing advanced technologies for the sequencing of DNA. CuraGen is headquartered in Branford, Connecticut. For additional information please visit

About LEO Pharma
LEO Pharma is specialised in dermatology (primarily psoriasis and skin infections) and critical care (hemostasis and nephrology). In 2005 LEO Pharma had revenues of MEUR 652 with profit before tax of MEUR 337. The equity position in 2005 was MEUR 1,741. LEO Pharma is a Pan-European company with subsidiaries in most European countries as well as in Canada, Middle East, Far East and Latin America. LEO Pharma products are sold in 90 countries and the company employs 3,000 people. LEO Pharma is 100% owned by the LEO Foundation. The sole purpose of the Foundation is to run LEO Pharma as an independent pharmaceutical company. For more information, please refer to the LEO Pharma Image Brochure available on this website.


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