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GEN News Highlights : Dec 13, 2011

BioLineRx to Develop Compugen Candidates Against Multiple Diseases

Initial focus is on three preclinical peptides targeting cardiovascular disease.

Compugen and BioLineRx signed a drug development agreement by which the latter will develop a series of mutually selected, Compugen-discovered drug compounds spanning a range of diseases. Under terms of the deal BioLineRx will develop selected candidates through Phase II trials, but plans to license them out to pharma partners for late-stage development and commercialization.

The collaboration will initially focus on three of Compugen’s peptide candidates. CGEN-855 and CGEN-856, which were both initially developed using Compugen’s GPCR peptide ligand discovery platform, and are in preclinical development for treating cardiovascular disease by reducing inflammation and hypertension. The peptides have undergone proof-of-concept animal studies and will be transferred to the BioLineRx product pipeline as BL-7070. CGEN-855 is a peptide agonist of FPRL1 GPCR, and has demonstrated anti-inflammatory activity in animal models of acute inflammation and inflammatory bowel disease, as well as cardioprotective effects in models of acute myocardial infarction. CGEN-856 is a ligand of the MAS GPCR receptor, which is a key component of the renin-angiotensin system.

The third Compugen peptide to be taken on by BioLineRx, CGEN-25017, is in development for the treatment of disorders characterized by excessive angiogenesis, such as retinopathy and cancer. Discovered using Compugen’s disease-associated conformation (DAC) blockers platform, the candidate is an antagonist of the angiopoietin-Tie-2 pathway that is critical to angiogenesis, blood vessel maturation, and vascular endothelium integrity. Preclincial proof-of-concept trials have demonstrated that the candidate has therapeutic effects in an animal model of retinopathy and two other models of angiogenesis. The candidate will be designated BL-8010 in the BioLineRx pipeline. The firms will, in addition, continue to evaluate other Compugen-discovered drug candidates for potential development by BioLineRx.

Compugen says the agreement with BioLineRx will provide the opportunity for continued development of promising therapeutic candidates discovered in-house, that are outside Compugen’s main areas of therapeutic interest. “Compugen focuses on the discovery and development of novel protein and antibody therapeutics in the fields of oncology and immunology,” explains Anat Cohen-Dayag, Ph.D., Compugen president and CEO. “However, as part of the process of establishing our broadly applicable predictive discovery capabilities, a number of promising potential therapeutic peptides and other potential drug candidates were discovered that are not in these main areas of focus.”