TOPIGEN

March 22, 2007 08:00 ET

TOPIGEN and NOVAGALI Enter Into Strategic Collaboration for Allergic Ocular Diseases and Allergic Rhinitis

TOPIGEN Expands the Applications of Its Technology to Additional Therapeutic Indications; NOVAGALI Broadens Its Product Pipeline for Ocular Allergy Diseases

MONTREAL and EVRY, FRANCE--(CCNMatthews - March 22, 2007) - TOPIGEN Pharmaceuticals Inc., a development stage biopharmaceutical company specializing in respiratory disorders, and NOVAGALI Pharma S.A., a specialty biopharmaceutical company developing novel ophthalmic products, today announced the initiation of a strategic collaboration and cross-license agreement.

Under the terms of the agreement, NOVAGALI will receive an exclusive worldwide license to develop and commercialize an ophthalmic product based on TOPIGEN's multi-targeted, RNA-targeting platform technology for the treatment and prevention of allergic eye diseases. TOPIGEN will receive an exclusive license to NOVAGALI's NOVASORB® topical delivery technology for use in formulating and developing an RNA-targeted therapy for treating respiratory conditions such as allergic rhinitis.

TOPIGEN and NOVAGALI will collaborate to develop ocular and nasal forms of RNA-targeting product candidates based on NOVAGALI's NOVASORB® topical delivery technology. TOPIGEN and NOVAGALI will develop formulations designed to improve the bioadhesion and hence the efficacy of RNA-targeting therapeutics delivered to the nasal membrane and ocular surface. The NOVASORB® technology is a delivery system that provides significantly improved retention time for therapeutic compounds in tissues such as the cornea and conjunctiva and other membrane surfaces including those within the nose. The terms in the agreement enable NOVAGALI to develop its own ophthalmic product based on TOPIGEN's multi-targeted, RNA-targeting platform technology for the treatment and prevention of allergic eye diseases, and for TOPIGEN to develop its own RNA-targeting products for allergic rhinitis based on the formulations developed using the NOVASORB® technology. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Jerome Martinez, President and Chief Executive Officer of NOVAGALI Pharma, commented, "We think it is a perfect fit to collaborate with TOPIGEN, for the development of therapeutics for allergic eye diseases. In its respiratory development programs, TOPIGEN has successfully validated its multi-targeted RNA approach in initial Phase II studies in patients with asthma. The types of chemokines and cytokines that have been shown to be important mediators in asthma are also mediators in allergic inflammatory conditions affecting the eye. Combined with our NOVASORB® topical delivery technology, we believe we can develop a better alternative to current therapies for the treatment and prevention of allergic eye diseases. This project would strengthen our pipeline position in the area of ocular allergic disease, an expanding market that exceeded U.S. $1 billion, worldwide last year."

"We are excited to be able to apply our multi-targeted, RNA-targeting technology for the first time in ophthalmic indications," added Paul K. Wotton, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of TOPIGEN. "NOVAGALI brings significant expertise in ocular disease treatment and drug delivery. This collaboration will help us to expand into other therapeutic areas and we will also reap the benefit of applying NOVAGALI's NOVASORB® topical delivery technology to develop one of our lead products for allergic rhinitis. This significantly expands the application of our platform technology and broadens our product portfolio."

About NOVAGALI's NOVASORB® Technology

NOVASORB® is a cationic emulsion delivery system that provides significantly improved drug spreading and binding to tissues such as cornea and conjunctiva. Studies have shown that NOVASORB® significantly improves absorption and/or efficacy of drugs in eye tissues. The technology can also easily be used for nasal delivery with the same benefits.

About TOPIGEN's RNA-targeting technology

RNA-targeting oligonucleotides are chemically modified molecules (nucleotides) that are designed to bind to a specific sequence of a messenger RNA's (mRNA) target through base-pairing interactions, thereby interfering with expression of the protein encoded by the mRNA. Scientists are using RNA-targeting oligonucleotides to design new, more effective drugs to inhibit gene expression and production of abnormal levels of cell proteins involved in diseases.

About TOPIGEN

TOPIGEN is a privately held, clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing new classes of inhaled drugs for respiratory diseases such as asthma, COPD and allergic rhinitis. TOPIGEN's pipeline includes small molecule and RNA-targeting therapeutics. The Company has two lead product candidates, inhaled TPI ASM8 for the treatment of asthma and inhaled TPI 1020 for the treatment of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), both currently undergoing Phase II trials. By topically targeting multiple affected airway receptors, the Company expects to improve outcomes for many patients with respiratory diseases. This specific approach has shown promising preclinical and clinical results in inhibiting the underlying inflammation associated with many pulmonary conditions. Current venture investors include CDP Capital - Technology Ventures, Desjardins Venture Capital, T2C2 / BIO, Fonds de solidarite FTQ, BDC Venture Capital and Multiple Capital Inc. For more detailed information on TOPIGEN visit www.topigen.com.

About NOVAGALI Pharma:

NOVAGALI Pharma SA is an ophthalmic specialty biopharmaceutical company that develops innovative products for all segments of the eye. Founded in 2000, the firm has raised a total amount of EUR 44 million from 1.2.3. Multinova, AGF Private Equity, Auriga Partners, Bernard Chauvin, CDC Entreprises Innovation, Credit Agricole Private Equity, Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners, FCJE and Siparex Ventures. For more detailed information on NOVAGALI visit www.novagali.com.

Contact Information

  • TOPIGEN:
    or
    Corporate Contact:
    Paul K. Wotton, Ph.D.
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    TOPIGEN Pharmaceuticals Inc.
    (514) 868-0404
    paul.wotton@topigen.com
    or
    IR/PR Contact:
    Dory Valiquette
    Team Leader, Investor Relations
    LaVoie Group
    (978) 745-4200 X106
    dvaliquette@lavoiegroup.com
    or
    NOVAGALI:
    or
    Corporate Contact:
    Jerome Martinez, Pharm D, MBA
    President & Chief Executive Officer
    NOVAGALI Pharma SA
    011(33)169874020
    or
    IR/PR Contact:
    Genevieve Garrigos
    Communications Advisor
    NOVAGALI Pharma SA
    011(33)169874020
    genevieve.garrigos@novagali.com