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Richter-Helm and Athera Biotechnologies Partner in Development of Recombinant Protein to Treat Cardiovascular Disease

HAMBURG, Germany and STOCKHOLM, January 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Richter-Helm BioLogics GmbH & Co. KG and Athera Biotechnologies AB have signed an agreement for the development and manufacturing of Athera's novel product for prevention of plaque rupture and athero-thrombosis through binding of the protein, Annexin A5, to endothelium. The recombinant protein Annexin A5 is intended for the treatment of patients with Acute Coronary Syndrome and who are at imminent risk for Myocardial Infarction.

This agreement secures a highly cost efficient long-term development and manufacturing plan for Athera, including possible future large volume commercial production. Annexin A5 is a biotechnology product produced using Richter-Helm's proprietary E. coli based expression system. Richter-Helm will initiate strain and process development of the new process, reaching a 1000 litre production scale.

"The Annexin A5 project fits well with the competence and experience of our company. We are confident that our collaboration will be as efficient and constructive as our negotiations were. Our state-of-the-art facilities are ideal for producing the high-quality Annexin A5 required to comply with the standards of the regulatory agencies," stated Dr. Bert Behnke, Managing Director of Richter-Helm.

"We are very pleased to get Richter-Helm as our development partner, they have an excellent reputation. We have now secured cost competitive and high quality production for clinical and commercial use," said Carina Schmidt, CEO of Athera Biotechnologies.

About Richter-Helm

Richter-Helm is a dynamic and expanding biotechnology company located at three sites in Northern Germany. The company was founded in 1997 as Strathmann Biotec and was acquired by a joint-venture of Gedeon Richter Plc, Hungary and Helm AG, Germany in 2007. The company operates a development facility and two cGMP manufacturing facilities for microbial production. Richter-Helm offers highly specialised contract development and manufacturing services for the pharmaceutical and biotechnological industries. Additionally, Richter-Helm is seeking for interesting biopharmaceutical development projects for its own pipeline and for co-development with partners.

    Dr. Kai Pohlmeyer, Head of Business Development
    Phone: +49-40-2375-1430

About Athera Biotechnologies

Athera provides new opportunities for treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease. The company has an innovative pipeline of drug candidates and risk markers enabling a possibility to provide a true combination of diagnosis and treatment. On Oct 2, 2008 Athera announced a collaboration with Dyax Corp. (NASDAQ: DYAX) to discover and develop antibodies for treatment of cardiovascular inflammation. The therapy is based on phosphorylcholine (PC) and low levels of antibodies to PC in human serum have been linked with an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Athera Biotechnologies is based in Karolinska Institutet Science Park in Stockholm and main investors include Karolinska Development and Baltic Sea Foundation. Athera is also a major partner in the highly ranked EU-project CVDIMMUNE lead by Karolinska Institutet. The project involves 10 academic and industrial partners, also including TNO, Phadia GmbH and Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz.

    Carina Schmidt, CEO
    Phone: +46705525115

SOURCE Richter-Helm BioLogics GmbH & Co. KG and Athera Biotechnologies AB
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