Medivir AB enters into License and Research Collaboration Agreement on Hepatitis C

Medivir AB today announced that it has signed a license and research collaboration agreement on Hepatitis C with Tibotec Pharmaceuticals Ltd, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. The goal of the research collaboration is to discover and develop orally active protease inhibitors of the NS3/4A protease of HCV. Medivir has developed a novel series of potent HCV NS3/4A protease inhibitors. These HCV inhibitors exhibit antiviral properties in a cell-based assay and have drug-like properties. Tibotec will be responsible for the global clinical development of these compounds and has acquired exclusive, worldwide marketing rights, except for in the Nordic countries, which have been retained by Medivir. The product will be commercialized in the non-Nordic countries by the Tibotec, Ortho-Biotech or Janssen Cilag operating companies of Johnson & Johnson. Under the terms of the agreement, Tibotec will make an upfront payment of €6.5 million and, based on successful achievement of pre-specified scientific, clinical and regulatory milestones, payments of up to €62 million. In addition, upon reaching a specific clinical milestone, Medivir has the right to receive a product that achieves certain predefined commercial criteria for marketing in the Nordic region or an additional payment. Medivir will receive royalties on product sales. The agreement also includes research funding. ”We are pleased to enter this collaboration and see this as evidence of Medivir’s competence within protease research. Hepatitis C is the hot spot of antiviral research today. This collaboration takes Medivir another important step further on its journey towards becoming a profitable, integrated pharmaceutical company”, says Medivir’s CEO Lars Adlersson. Hepatitis C is a form of hepatitis caused by an RNA virus (HCV). According to the WHO 3% of the global population are infected with hepatitis C (HCV) amounting to 200 million people. In the US 1.8% of population are infected amounting to 3.9 million people. Presently there are approximately 2 million patients diagnosed for HCV in the western world. In more than 60% of cases, infection with HCV leads to long-term disease and disability. It is the most common cause of chronic liver disease, hepatocellular carcinoma, and the most frequent reason for liver transplantation. The HCV market is today dominated by interferon-based treatment regimes which have both limitations in efficacy and tolerability. The market is according to Datamonitor expected to grow rapidly from today’s 3.5 bn USD to 9 bn USD in 2010.

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Medivir develops innovative drugs with a focus on cancer where the unmet medical needs are high. The company is investing in indication areas where available therapies are limited or missing and there are great opportunities to offer significant improvements to patients. Collaborations and partnerships are important parts of Medivir's business model and the drug development as well as the commercialization is conducted either by Medivir or in partnership. Medivir's share (ticker: MVIR) is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm's Small Cap list.


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