Pfizer acquires Idun Pharmaceuticals

Pfizer today announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Idun Pharmaceuticals, a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of therapies to control apoptosis, a process of cell death that occurs in a broad range of diseases.

Idun has built a leading intellectual property position in apoptosis. The company has an extensive patent portfolio consisting of more than 150 issued patents covering drug targets, new chemical entities (NCEs), drug-screening assays, diagnostics and antibodies. Idun's technology is focused on the control of caspase activity. Caspases are a group of cellular proteases involved in the pathway of apoptosis and inflammation. Idun has developed therapeutic applications focused on inhibiting caspase activity as potential treatments for liver disease and inflammation. Idun also has programs targeting the activation of caspases as potential treatments for cancer.

"The acquisition of Idun is a further step in our strategy to augment Pfizer's internal research and development efforts with high-potential, externally sourced product candidates and technologies," said Martin Mackay, Senior Vice President Worldwide Research & Technology for Pfizer Inc. "Idun has built a leading technology platform in controlling caspase activity and we see potential broad application of this technology in treating liver damage associated with viral and non-viral diseases plus other areas of significant unmet medical need."

"Pfizer's acquisition of Idun is an important milestone for the company. Pfizer is an ideal fit to advance Idun's promising pipeline through the critical stages of development and commercialization and provides a platform to exploit Idun's technology across various potential applications," said Steven J. Mento, President and CEO of Idun.

Idun's lead compound, IDN-6556, a first-in-class pan caspase inhibitor, is in Phase II clinical trials in liver transplantation and in patients infected with Hepatitis C virus. Recently reported data from a Phase IIA study show that IDN-6556 given orally was well-tolerated and significantly improved markers of liver damage in patients infected with the Hepatitis C virus (HCV), an infection that affects up to 170 million patients worldwide. IDN-6556 may represent a new class of drugs that protect the liver from inflammation and cellular damage induced by viral infections and other causes.

In addition to IDN-6556, Idun has a robust preclinical pipeline including a number of programs in inflammation and oncology.

Based in San Diego, Idun is a private company co-founded by Robert Horvitz, Ph.D., Professor of Biology at MIT, and John Reed, M.D., Ph.D., CEO of the Burnham Institute. Dr Horvitz was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2002 for his discoveries concerning the regulation of organ development and apoptosis.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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