Modus Therapeutics Announces Co-Development Agreement with Ergomed for Sickle-Cell Disease Treatment
Ergomed plc (LSE: ERGO or ‘Ergomed’) and Modus Therapeutics AB (‘Modus Therapeutics’) today announced that they have entered into a co-development agreement for the Phase II clinical development of sevuparin in patients with Sickle-Cell Disease (SCD) experiencing acute Vaso-Occlusive Crisis (VOC). Modus Therapeutics is part of the Karolinska Development AB (STO: KDEV or ‘Karolinska Development’) portfolio.
Under the terms of the agreement, Ergomed has been appointed as the clinical development organisation to conduct Modus Therapeutics’s multicentre, multinational, randomized Phase II study in SCD patients suffering from VOC. The study is planned to start in Q2 2015. Ergomed will furthermore co-invest a proportion of its revenues from the clinical and regulatory activities of the trial in return for an equity stake in Modus Therapeutics.
VOCs are caused by sickled blood cells blocking the blood vessels, thereby reducing blood flow to organs leading to ischemia and often severe pain. Today, pain relief through opioids is the only available treatment for the patients during these episodes and there is therefore a profound unmet medical need for disease modifying treatments within VOC management. The blockage of blood flow caused by the sickled cells can also cause severe damage to various organs, such as the lungs, heart, spleen, kidneys and liver.
Commenting on the announcement, Dr Miroslav Reljanovic, CEO of Ergomed plc said: “We are very excited to co-invest in Modus Therapeutics for the development of sevuparin, which has shown promising results in vivo on sickled red blood cells from SCD patients. As our first co-development agreement in orphan drug development and the fifth co-development agreement in our portfolio, this partnership reaffirms Ergomed’s commitment to developing orphan drugs, as well as to our innovative co-development model which we believe has the potential to generate significant value for our shareholders.”
Christina Herder, CEO of Modus Therapeutics added: “SCD is a devastating disease affecting patients worldwide, for which there is today no specific effective treatment. We look forward to working with Ergomed, to take sevuparin into the next stage of development and trust this partnership to be an excellent opportunity to combine our expertise.”
In the light of the announcement, Dr Terje Kalland, Acting CEO of Karolinska Development comments: “With this agreement, Modus Therapeutics is progressing swiftly towards the initiation of the company’s planned Phase II trial in SCD. Based on the promising preclinical data, Modus Therapeutics may hold the key to a major shift in the treatment of VOCs where treatment options today are very limited for this orphan disease. We welcome Ergomed as co-investors in Modus Therapeutics, which is an important strategic company in our portfolio. This announcement confirms our strategy to syndicate investments together with specialized life science investors. We now look forward to the continued development of sevuparin.”