BRISTOL-MYERS WILL CO-DEVELOP COLLAGEN's FIRST DRUG TGFb2
BRISTOL-MYERS WILL CO-DEVELOP COLLAGEN's FIRST DRUG TGFb2, under a joint R&D agreement announced Aug. 31. "Bristol-Myers will supply recombinant transforming growth factor beta, type 2 (TGFb2) and make a major investment in the development of TGFb2-based products for the dermatology market with Collagen over the next five years," Collagen said. "Collagen and Bristol-Myers will co-market these products worldwide." Human clinicals of TGFb2 for treatment of psoriasis are more than a year away (scheduled for the fourth quarter of 1989). The product will also be studied for other immune-based skin diseases including eczema. Collagen estimates that about 4 mil. Americans suffer from eczema and psoriasis. In addition, Bristol has acquired for $ 1 mil. an option for exclusive marketing rights to other applications of TGFb2, such as cancer, organ transplantation, and other immune-related diseases. "In laboratory studies conducted by [Collagen R&D subsidiary] Celtrix, TGFb2 has shown to be over 100,000 times more potent than cyclosporine-A," the release maintains. "Early research also indicates the potential for TGFb2 to differentiate between healthy and abnormal cells, which may lead to novel cancer therapies." In the same release, Collagen announced the granting of TGFb2 patent claims in the U.S. for immune suppression and cancer therapy. The cancer application is owned jointly with Bristol, whose Genetics Systems Division has been collaborating with Collagen. A U.S. patent issued for the TGFb2 protein in March 1988, Collagen said. "Our strong patent position, coupled with our collagen-based matrix technology and Bristol-Myers' expertise in pharmaceuticals, puts us in the dominant position to develop therapeutic products using TGFb2," Celtrix President Bruce Pharriss, PhD, contended. Based in Palo Alto, Collagen's core business has been the development of purified collagen products for tissue augmentation, including bone graft substitutes for orthopedic applications and dermal ulcer repair. Collagen closed fiscal 1988 (June 30) with sales of $ 29.1 mil., up from $ 24.3 mil. in 1987. In 1987, the company created Celtrix to handle R&D activities based on the company's cellular matrix technology.
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