BioLineRx (TASE:BLRX), a biopharmaceutical drug development company, and Yissum Research Development Company Ltd., the Technology Transfer Company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, announced today that they have signed a worldwide, exclusive license agreement for BioLineRx to develop and commercialize BL-7040, an orally available Phase II ready molecule for treating Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and other inflammatory diseases.
BL-7040 has dual activity on both the nervous and immune systems, rendering it highly suitable for treating both neurological diseases and immune system related conditions such as inflammatory or autoimmune diseases. It was invented by Professor Hermona Soreq, from the Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences, Faculty of Science and the Edmond and Lily Safra Center of Brain Sciences at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Prof. Soreq is a pioneer in molecular biology research responsible for the development of RNA-targeted oligonucleotide drugs for mammalian stress reactions which increase the risk of chronic diseases such as muscle fatigue, inflammation and neurodegeneration.
BL-7040 was previously developed for Myasthenia Gravis (MG), a neuromuscular disease, where it showed a high level of efficacy in Phase Ib and IIa clinical trials. However, after discovering a new mechanism of action for the drug, BioLineRx is designating BL-7040 for IBD and other inflammatory diseases with a much wider market.
"We are excited to add BL-7040 to our pipeline. It has already demonstrated safety as well as its pharmacokinetic profile in earlier clinical trials, so we expect an accelerated development program as we plan to begin Phase II clinical trials for the treatment of IBD," stated Dr. Kinneret Savitsky, CEO of BioLineRx. "With this new addition, we now have five clinical-stage therapeutic products in our pipeline, including three in mid-stage or pivotal trials. BL-1020 for the treatment of schizophrenia is about to begin a Phase II/III clinical trial; BL-1040 for treating patients following a myocardial infarction is about to begin two pivotal trials; BL-5010 for non-surgical removal of skin lesions has successfully completed a Phase I/II study, and BL-1021 for neuropathic pain is currently in Phase I studies."
"We are very pleased to once again collaborate with BioLineRx, which has the drug development expertise to further develop this therapy," said Yaacov Michlin, CEO of Yissum. "BL-7040 addresses the very mechanism causing inflammatory diseases and therefore has the potential to offer a breakthrough in the treatment of IBD and make a positive impact on millions of lives."
Prof. Hermona Soreq, added, "This new drug acts to suppress inflammatory responses by directly activating an anti-inflammatory agent, namely TLR-9, an innate immune system protein, and concomitantly by increasing the activity of the cholinergic, anti-inflammatory, pathway. This dual action renders BL-7040 unique in the field of anti-inflammatory drugs, and presents a new and improved treatment for inflammatory disease."