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Debiopharm and MSM Protein Technologies Sign Agreement for Research and Development of Debio 0929, a Novel Oncology Biologic

LAUSANNE, Switzerland and MEDFORD, Massachussets, July 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Debiopharm Group (Debiopharm), a Swiss-based global biopharmaceutical group of companies with a focus on the development of prescription drugs that target unmet medical needs, and MSM Protein Technologies (MSM), a human antibody drug discovery company with world class expertise in targeting multi-spanning membrane proteins, announce the signature of an exclusive agreement for the development and commercialisation of Debio 0929, an antibody targeting a G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR), to be developed into a new oncology therapeutic drug.

Under the terms of the agreement, Debiopharm and MSM haveformed a partnership to select antibodies against the GPCR. Upon completion of the discovery phase, MSM will grant Debiopharm a worldwide exclusive licence for the development and commercialisation of the antibody. MSM will retain marketing rights for Russia, Ukraine and several other countries in Eastern Europe and Asia. MSM will receive milestone payments from Debiopharm during the development of the product, as well as a share of royalties on net sales.

"We usually licence-in compounds with existing animal proof of concept, but we were seduced by MSM's technology and their expertise in the generation of antibodies aimed at GPCRs," said Rolland-Yves Mauvernay, President and Founder of Debiopharm Group. "This is a win-win situation, our companies complement one another. MSMs discovery expertise, together with our experience in drug development should lead to innovative oncology therapeutics."

"This is a transformational deal for MSM because it represents our first jointly owned program with a global partner. We are pleased to be working with Debiopharm because they are an excellent company that complements MSM's skill set. We are also happy to be among Debiopharm's partners in the antibody space," added Davis Farmer, MSM's Chairman.

Tajib A. Mirzabekov, Ph.D., President and CEO of MSM commented: "This is a very exciting transaction for MSM. We are working with a great partner, on a very exciting and valuable target and we have the chance to launch what may be the first novel biologic in Russia through our Russian subsidiary, Meprotek. It provides a substantial validation for our technology and our team to work with a company of Debiopharm's caliber. There is a great need in targeting of GPCRs with functionally active, high quality and potent human monoclonal antibodies."

About Debiopharm Group

Debiopharm Group is a Swiss-based global biopharmaceutical group of companies with a focus on the development of prescription drugs that target unmet medical needs. It develops its products for global registration and maximum commercial potential. Once registered, the products are out-licensed to pharmaceutical partners for sales and marketing.

Debiopharm independently funds the worldwide development of all of its products while providing expertise in pre-clinical and clinical trials, manufacturing, drug delivery and formulation, and regulatory affairs.

Founded in 1979 and headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland, Debiopharm has developed four products with global combined sales in excess of $2.6 billion in 2008.

For more information on Debiopharm Group, please visit:

About MSM Protein Technologies

MSM is a closely held drug discovery company based in Boston, MA. MSM is the leader in the discovery of antibodies targeting multispanning membrane proteins. The company applies its proprietary SIMPL (TM) platform and magnetic proteoliposome particles (MPLs) to display multispanners such as GPCRs in highly concentrated and purified form while retaining their native conformation and orientation thereby maximizing the probability of raising functional antibodies. MSM has demonstrated the ability to raise functional human antibodies against a number of GPCRs and other membrane proteins.

MSM was formed in 2005 on the basis of technology originally developed at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute by the company's founding scientist and subsequently licensed to MSM. Since then the Company has developed additional, novel technologies that provide greater power and sensitivity to the search for antibody drugs to multispanners.

For more information on MSM, please visit:

About G-protein Coupled Receptors (GPCRs)

GPCRs comprise a large protein family of transmembrane receptors that sense molecules outside the cell and activate inside signal transduction pathways and, ultimately, cellular responses. A G-protein is an intracellular membrane associated protein, responsible for activating the signalling cascade. GPCRs are coupled to G-proteins. GPCRs are the largest, most versatile group of membrane receptors and also the most pharmaceutically important, as more than 30% of the low-molecular weight drugs currently on the market are targeting this kind of receptors.

    Debiopharm S.A. Contact

    Maurice Wagner
    Director Corporate Affairs & Communication
    Tel: +41(0)21-321-01-11
    Fax: +41(0)21-321-01-69

    MSM Protein Technologies Contact
    Davis Farmer
    Tel: +1-781-321-3322
    Fax: +1-781-321-3360

    Additional Media Contacts

    In London
    Brian Hudspith
    Tel: +44(0)20-7379-5151

    In New York

    Russo Partners, LLC
    Martina Schwarzkopf, Ph.D.
    Account Executive
    Tel: +1-212-845-4292
    Fax: +1-212-845-4260

SOURCE Debiopharm Group
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