REPLIGEN WILL USE $45 MIL. IN FUNDS FROM R&D PARTNERSHIP
REPLIGEN WILL USE $45 MIL. IN FUNDS FROM R&D PARTNERSHIP as a springboard into the cancer market, a new area for the company. Managed by Paine-Webber, the R&D partnership will provide Repligen with $45 mil. over four years to develop its recombinant platelet factor-4 (rPF4) for use in treating "certain cancers" and in "various cardiovascular procedures," Repligen said March 2. To date, Repligen has focused primarily on AIDS-related products. rPF4 appears to block the formation of new blood vessels, a process called angiogenesis. "The potential for using rPF4 as a unique cancer treatment lies in its ability to prevent the formation of blood vessel networks that are vital to the growth of tumors and lesions," the company said. The first indication Repligen will pursue for rPF4 is Kaposi's sarcoma: the company expects to file an IND in April. Human clinicals for treatment of brain tumors are planned for late summer or early fall. More longterm, Repligen will also investigate the use of rPF4 for other solid tumors such as breast and colorectal. "Repligen believes that rPF4 also may be useful in treating the lesions caused by psoriasis, and clinical tests for this indication are expected to begin in late 1992 or early 1993," the release states. In the cardiovascular area, Repligen is studying the agent for use in neutralizing heparin following major cardiovascular procedures. The recombinant platelet factor could be a "good substitute" for protomine because animal studies indicate it is "distinctly less toxic," Repligen said in a separate release. Animal studies conducted by Repligen and Temple University Medical School were published in the March issue of Circulation. Under the terms of the R&D partnership, Repligen will have exclusive rights to market rPF4 products in the U.S., Europe and Canada. The partnership will receive royalties on those sales. Repligen also has the option to buy back stock sold to the partnership. Separately, Repligen appointed John Kenward to the new position of chief operating officer, effective March 30. Previously a senior VP at Schering-Plough with responsibility for marketing, medical and scientific operations in the international division, Kenward will report directly to Repligen President Sandford Smith.
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