Companies Announce a Collaboration for the Development of AMP-110 - An Innovative Treatment for Multiple Sclerosis and Other Autoimmune Diseases
New York, NY/Rockville, MD (Vocus) August 25, 2009 -- Amplimmune, Inc., a Maryland-based biotechnology company, and Fast Forward, LLC, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society's subsidiary devoted to bridging the gap between research and drug development, today announced a collaboration to support the development of Amplimmune's AMP-110 therapeutic candidate. This novel and proprietary biological molecule, or biologic, is specifically designed to target and prevent the abnormal immune responses associated with multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases.
The agreement with Amplimmune is the third in a series of growing partnerships between Fast Forward and emerging biotechnology companies. "We are pleased to partner with Amplimmune to advance the development of new treatments for MS," said Dr. Timothy Coetzee, President of Fast Forward. "AMP-110 represents an important inventive approach to inhibiting inflammatory responses in multiple sclerosis." Adds Dr. Coetzee, "Modulating the immune system by using costimulatory and coinhibitory biologics is an active area of research and has significant potential in developing new therapies for MS. AMP-110 fits our profile for supporting innovative and promising new treatments for MS."
"Fast Forward's support provides a strong, independent and scientific validation for developing Amplimmune's AMP-110 for treating MS," said Mr. Michael Richman, President and CEO of Amplimmune. "Building on the exciting discovery of one of Amplimmune's founders, Dr. Lieping Chen, at The Johns Hopkins University, we are pleased to form this collaboration with Fast Forward which will help accelerate AMP-110 into clinical testing."
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society funds research in a range of scientific areas including immune mechanisms, genetics, nerve regeneration and symptom managements. The agreement with Amplimmune is a part of the Society's Fast Forward initiative through which Fast Forward will partner with young innovative biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies to develop treatments, diagnostics, medical devices, and related technologies to treat, reverse and ultimately cure MS. Under the terms of the agreement, Fast Forward will provide Amplimmune with funds to support preclinical development of AMP-110. In consideration, Fast Forward will receive warrants to purchase shares of the company.
**NOTE TO EDITORS: Fast Forward's partnership with Amplimmune continues to expand its role in spurring MS drug development in the emerging biotech market and follows on its successful alliances with Apitope International to fund a proof of principle clinical trial for a peptide therapeutic vaccine and with Provid Pharmaceuticals to develop a novel compound intended to redirect abnormal immune response. It also builds on Fast Forward's $19 million collaborative partnership with EMD Serono to accelerate innovation and commercial development of MS therapies through a group of soon to be determined, mutually agreed upon seed-to-early stage projects. Emerging biotechnology companies face many challenges in the current economy, and Fast Forward is determined to deploy its resources to spearhead the continued development of promising MS therapies.
About Fast Forward, LLC
Fast Forward, LLC is a nonprofit organization established by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in order to accelerate the development of treatments for MS. Fast Forward will accomplish its mission by connecting university-based MS research with private-sector drug development and by funding small biotechnology/pharmaceutical companies to develop innovative new MS therapies and repurpose FDA-approved drugs as new treatments for MS. For more information visit: www.fastforward.org.
About the National Multiple Sclerosis Society
MS is a chronic, unpredictable neurological disease that affects the central nervous system. It is thought to be an autoimmune disorder, meaning the immune system incorrectly attacks healthy tissue. Symptoms may be mild, such as numbness in the limbs, or severe, such as paralysis or loss of vision. These problems may be permanent or may come and go. The National MS Society addresses the challenges of each person affected by MS by funding cutting-edge research, driving change through advocacy, facilitating professional education, collaborating with MS organizations around the world, and providing programs and services designed to help people with MS and their families move their lives forward. For more information about MS, the Society or to join the MS movement visit: www.nationalMSsociety.org.
About Amplimmune, Inc.
Headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, Amplimmune is focused on developing novel biologics targeting key co-stimulatory/co-inhibitory molecules that rebalance the immune system and are intended for treating cancer, autoimmune disease, infectious disease, and transplantation. With its strong development focus, Amplimmune is rapidly advancing two lead molecules towards clinical development: one in the area of cancer and the other in the autoimmune disease setting. AMP-224 will be advancing into a phase 1 clinical trial for cancer in 2010. Working closely with its founders at Johns Hopkins University and other collaborators, Amplimmune is expanding its technology base in the area of immune co-stimulatory/co-inhibitory molecules and has assembled a vast foundation of reagents, models, know-how, and intellectual property to further develop its product pipeline as well as to discover novel biomarkers, ligands, and receptors. For more information, please visit the Amplimmune website at www.amplimmune.com.
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