InDex Pharmaceuticals: Exciting Licensing Opportunity




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Video title: InDex Pharmaceuticals: Exciting Licensing Opportunity
Released on: June 23, 2009. © PharmaVentures Ltd
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InDex Pharmaceuticals AB are one of a number of biotechnology companies to emerge from the renowned Karolinska Institute in Sweden. CEO, Svante Rasmuson and CSO Oliver von Stein discuss the companies approach to developing drugs using it’s DIMS (DNA immunomodulatory sequence) technology to address inflammatory bowel disease and other immune and inflammatory diseases such as asthma and COPD. Speaking at BIO 2009 where they presented their recent successful Phase 2 data they discuss their partnering strategies for the lead compound Kappaproct®, the other drugs in the pipeline and their suite of accompanying diagnostics for IBD.

Kappaproct® and other applications of InDex DIMS technology are available for license. For more information contact Adrian Dawkes, Managing Consultant PharmaVentures Ltd. | adrian.dawkes@pharmaventures.com | +44 (0)7931 428 487
The origin of InDex Pharmaceuticals.
Fintan Walton:
Hello and welcome, we are here at Bio 2009 at the Annual Convention here in Atlanta. We are here to record a series of programs with leading Pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to talk about the both their vision and what they are doing to build their organizations in tough economic times.
Fintan Walton:
Hello and welcome to PharmaVentures Business review here at Bio Atlanta. On this show I have Svante Rasmuson, who is the CEO of a company called InDex Pharmaceuticals based in Sweden. And Oliver von Stein who is the Chief Scientific Officer of InDex Pharmaceuticals. Welcome to the show.
Svante Rasmuson :
Thank you very much.
Svante Rasmuson :
Thank you.
Fintan Walton:
InDex Pharmaceuticals is a company that spinout of the Karolinska Institutet, could you tell us how the company was actually originated svanteAnd what it's key focus was at that time?
Svante Rasmuson:
Sure, we had -- well actually some colleagues of mine , they were used to be colleagues probably with mine back in the medical school, but they were " they started off as an academic project at the Karolinska Institutet and they had discovered this immunomodulatory compound they have tested it in different animal models, and they were able to " to get an approval from the medical authorities in Sweden to start testing it in severely ill patients suffering from Inflammatory Bowel Disease. And it's very much the basis for those initial results in this pilot study that therefore why this company was incorporated to continue to develop that product which is today called Kappaproct and well eventually was to commercialize it so the same.
Fintan Walton:
So who were the backers at that time? What " what companies came into back in that pharmaceuticals"?
Svante Rasmuson :
We friends and family I would say first actually to get those starting capital but we eventually got Venture capital in quite early as well to boost these things up and I mean higher the right kind of organization to have the things rolling. So and today we are more or less a Venture capital controlled company I would say.
Fintan Walton:
And the spread of products that you have taken through obviously Kappaproct was an important product, but what else was happening at InDex pharmaceuticals to build it's skill set?
Svante Rasmuson :
Right, we had a couple of proactive course and then we had some basic ideas on how to find new drug targets, and that work actually over the first 2 to 3-years ended up that we also have a Franchisee in diagnostics today because we realized over the time that many of those drugs targets were very good to use fordiagnostics. We actually just launched our first diagnostics product in Sweden which is called DiBiCol which is to classify different Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.
Kappaproct and its therapeutic perspective.
Fintan Walton:
SoOliver, may be you could this is an opportunity for you to describe in more detail, what the actual motive action is for Kappaproct and where it sits specifically in on therapeutics perspective.
Oliver von Stein :
Thank you. Yes, sure. Kappaproct as I mentioned is a DNA-based-immunomodulatory-sequence. It imparts it's immunomodulatory affects by interaction to an extent with the toll-like-receptor, but we equally appreciate through our studies across the years that there are certainly other effects taking part thatKappaproct induces. The effects precise can be either short lived as in terms of scientific cytokinic induction but they can also be rather prolonged lived and we've seen this also demonstrated in a lot of our animal work and I think it's also fair to say that the design of the substance per say requires great attention to detail we believe, it's not that all times we'll treat all the diseases as one has to look very carefully at the sort of induction profile your getting and then really to match that with the correct sort of disease. That today placesKappaproct as we've shown in the clinical " we've shown in the clinical study treating steroid resistant patients. It's certainly been a very interesting effect that we've noted but also it's imparted other functions for example increasing the service expression of antibody targets such as CD20 which is the target for Rituximab. So these all these facts are really due to the Kappaproct enhancing existing therapies that exist there today.
Fintan Walton:
So that opens up the opportunity for both mono therapy and
Oliver von Stein:
Exactly, and in combination.
Fintan Walton:
Combination.
Oliver von Stein:
And that's exactly what we are addressing, we are addressing our DIMS compound asmono therapy but equally in combination with the existing therapies where Kappaproct is a typical example.
Inlicensing by Serono.
Fintan Walton:
Right, and if I could just come to it's history because at one stage it was in [PharmaDeals ID = 15686] by Serono, and actually after this Serono [PharmaDeals ID = 25251] with Merck Merck's acquisition of Serono, did the opportunity came back for you to take that product back?
Svante Rasmuson:
Yeah we decided when we were aware of those discussions on the merger of that this is a project we want to so as they have the control over so we actually decided to buy the product back and now what we had carried out some additional clinical trials with it I believe we are certainly in a favorable situation to find a new commercial partner for this product.
Expectations in partnering.
Fintan Walton:
Right, and so you've just announced the at bio that at this bio event the clinical results. So what what do you see now for Kappaproct? I mean also you are looking for a partner, but as you see the clinical development program going into Phase III and so forth what do you " what do you actually see a partner doing? Or you hope your partner to do?
Svante Rasmuson:
The situation. Yeah. Our plan now is to since this product has an often drug designation in the European market we plan to have a thorough discussion with relevant authorities in Europe and to decide on the next step the most likely as Pivotal trial going for a market quite early market launch with this product the type of fast track moving in, and why we are saying that is because we are also are running a program in Germany on the sort of say comparison of used therapy for patients that have failed every other treatment, their option is really radical surgery and there we also have very compelling data so for. And the plan is to bring that sort of controlled clinical study a Central European one, to bring Kappaproct for those who need it most sort of say to come back to the market. The Russian, Swedish study we just concluded and reported that. That is, of course I mean these patients are not all that severely ill but they need " they're at least failing on steroids and which is the standard therapy.
Fintan Walton:
So what would be, who would be the ideal partner?
Svante Rasmuson :
There can be several options of course companies focusing very much in Gastrointestinal diseases. It can also be companies focusing more in general inflammation or chronic inflammation because as we see it we have the possibility to, or let's say like this Inflammatory Bowel Diseasewe see that it works there but we also have indications after this we work verifying in amplifying this steroid's effect in other types of chronic inflammation such as Asthma for instance.
Fintan Walton:
Right, so it could be a multinational?
Svante Rasmuson :
Yes certainly.
Fintan Walton:
Right. As well as a specialty pharmaceutical company?
Svante Rasmuson :
Yeah and of course there are possibilities in dividing the world in regional split ups as well.
InDex Pharmaceuticals products range and diagnostics technology.
Fintan Walton:
Okay. Oliver if I can go to you about the diagnostic side of the business and I know that the diagnostic side is " you've recently just started to launch products particularly in Sweden.So what is basis of the diagnostics technology? And where does it fit in the InDex products range?
Oliver von Stein :
DiBiCol is as you rightly point out launched currently now on the Swedish market. It is by and large human technology perspective it's a PCR based assay. We are looking at seven specific target genes and very much their expression relation with each other. But the purpose of all of this is really is to subtype a few like the IBD group into their two major forms which are ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn's disease. These of course can have significant similarities, they pose sometimes difficulties in designing which patients has really what and we feel that this test has a very high sensitivity and specificity and can provide a very rapid answers for the treating physicians so that proper treatment is really prescribed.
Fintan Walton:
And is it capable of early deduction? I mean that's obviously important.
Oliver von Stein :
In some senses of the work yes it is. We've looked at those patients that are classified as IBDU in other words they have IBD but it's unclassified it's not known to the physicians if they are ulcerative colitis (UC) or Crohn's disease patients and what we've seen is that DiBiCol can actually tell what may be exactly what may be developed eventually.
Overall strategy going forward in future.
Fintan Walton:
Right, so if I could go back to you Svante again about the overall strategy for the company going forward now, at for InDex Pharmaceuticals , you have got your investors behind you obviously you're hopefully going to do a major dealing with Kappaproct going forward so what's " what's assuming that this deal will happen which I know you are confident will happen. Where does that place InDex going forward?
Svante Rasmuson :
Well as mentioned hopefully a big partner will take over Kappaproct. We'll continue to spread our diagnostics operation outside the Nordic region and hopefully get presence in larger markets and then we have -- well we haven't gone into it but we have a several other projects that are sort to say knocking on that door that go wants to go into the clinic Phase and it's supports a lot of work to bring I mean we have one compound called 9022 for instance that amplifies the effect of all the monoclonal antibodies in leukemia treatment and that's a very interesting area where we want to be able to move forward as well so that is one important area.
Fintan Walton:
Well the concept of developing drugs that actually enhance the effect of other drugs is a rapidly growing and increasingly important part of drug discovery I suppose in some ways. So would you describe yourselves as that type of business?
Svante Rasmuson:
Well it used to be just the bigger " big products for the real, I mean common diseases there but I would say that overtime this has " just last few years we see more and more of new strategies were you go for orphan drug indications but also where we have a possibility to really decide before we give treatment to a patient that this patient will respond to therapy and that is what we called companion diagnostics or personalized medicine. And we actually have a such test under development also for Kappaproct and I believe that's the kind of focus that we will continue to have.
Fintan Walton:
Well we wish you both the best of luck with InDex Pharmaceuticals and obviously with Kappaproct. Thank you very much indeed for coming on this show. Thank you.
Oliver von Stein :
Thank you very much.
Svante Rasmuson :
Thank you.
Oliver von Stein
Chief Scientific Officer
Svante Rasmuson , Chief Executive Officer Svante Rasmusonhas more than 20 years experience from both the life science sector and the financial industry, including earlier positions at Gambro and Alfred Berg Fondkommission. Since 1997 a partner in a financial strategy consulting firm with assignments and board representations in several Swedish Life Science companies. Medical School exam at Ume" University in 1986. Oliver von Stein , Chief Scientific Officer Oliver von Stein carried out his molecular biology PhD studies at the Institute of Genetics in Karlsruhe, Germany, and held a postdoctoral position at Centre of Genomics and Bioinformatics at Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm. Before joining InDex Pharmaceuticals, he worked as a project leader of expression profiling atMediGene AG, Munich, Germany.
InDex Pharmaceuticals
InDex Pharmaceuticals AB is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, a spinout fromKarolinska Institutet, which was founded in 2000 and is based in Stockholm, Sweden. It is a privately owned company with approximately 100 shareholders, including SEB Venture Capital and Life Equity Sweden. The company is building a leading immunotherapy franchise based on its TLR platform toll-like-receptors. It discovers and develops DIMS drugs DNA-based-immunomodulatory-sequence to treat diseases within a variety of therapeutic areas, includinginflammation and cancer. It has several proprietaryDIMS compounds in various stages of development, including Kappaproct, for the treatment of steroid resistent/dependent ulcerative colitis, currently in clinical Phase II studies. The company also has a niche strategy in multi-gene diagnostics. Its first diagnostic product DiBiCol, which offers a novel standard for gastrointestinal diseaseclassification, is being launched on the Swedish market.