Protagonist and Ironwood Expand Peptide Drug Discovery Collaboration

  Protagonist and Ironwood Expand Peptide Drug Discovery Collaboration

Business Wire

MENLO PARK, Calif. & CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- December 06, 2012

Protagonist Therapeutics, Inc. and Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:
IRWD) today announced the expansion of their research collaboration. The
collaboration, originally announced in January 2011, leverages Protagonist’s
proprietary disulfide-rich peptide (DRP) technology platform and is aimed at
providing Ironwood with novel peptides against targets for potential
development in therapeutic areas with significant unmet medical needs.

“Our joint effort has made remarkable progress since the collaboration was
initiated in January, 2011,” said Dinesh V. Patel, Ph.D., president and chief
executive officer at Protagonist. “The expansion of this relationship is a
strong validation of Protagonist’s DRP technology platform and its ability to
identify novel drug candidates for targets and diseases where conventional
small molecule or biologic options may not meet existing needs.”

As previously announced, Protagonist and Ironwood are using Protagonist’s DRP
technology platform to design, discover and optimize novel peptides against
therapeutically relevant targets. Researchers from both companies are working
together as part of an integrated team that includes Protagonist scientists
funded by Ironwood for the duration of the collaboration period. Ironwood has
the right to advance such peptide therapeutic candidates through preclinical
and clinical development, and if successfully developed and approved by
regulatory authorities, commercialization. Pending the achievement of certain
development and commercialization milestones, Ironwood will make certain
milestone payments and pay royalties on sales of each product identified using
Protagonist’s technology.

“We are pleased to expand our relationship with Protagonist as we have been
impressed with Protagonist’s scientific team, technology and the overall
productivity to date of this collaboration,” said Todd Milne, Ph.D., vice
president of biology at Ironwood. “This joint effort complements our internal
capabilities as we seek to discover, develop and commercialize innovative
medicines targeting important therapeutic needs.”

About Ironwood Pharmaceuticals

Ironwood Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: IRWD) is an entrepreneurial pharmaceutical
company dedicated to the art and science of great drugmaking. Ironwood is
located in Cambridge, Mass. To learn more, visit

About Protagonist Therapeutics

Protagonist Therapeutics is a U.S.-incorporated biotechnology company pursuing
the discovery and development of disulfide-rich peptides (DRPs) as well
differentiated alternatives to biologics, and also as new chemical entities
(NCEs) against those targets and life threatening diseases for which suitable
small molecule and/or biologic options are not available. DRPs are a proven
chemical class of drugs with numerous examples of orally stable and injectable
NCEs on the market and in various stages of clinical development. The company
has a validated technology platform well suited to explore the full potential
of the DRP scaffold class. It comprises of a purposefully built computational
design environment, directed evolution approaches to prepare millions of
molecules via phage libraries, and classical small molecule medicinal
chemistry type analoging and SAR development.

Protagonist is a spin-out of University of Queensland’s Institute of Molecular
Biosciences (IMB) and has discovery operations in Menlo Park, California USA
and Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. For further information, please visit

This press release contains forward looking statements, and investors are
cautioned not to place undue reliance on such statements. Such statements
include, but are not limited to, statements regarding Protagonist’s
development obligations, Ironwood’s rights to develop any peptide developed by
Protagonist, and Ironwood’s obligations to fund Protagonist’s research and to
make milestone and royalty payments if products are successfully developed and
commercialized. Each forward‐looking statement is subject to risks and
uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those
expressed or implied in such statement. Applicable risks and uncertainties
include the risks that Ironwood chooses not to develop or commercialize a
peptide designed in connection with the collaboration, that a peptide does not
successfully complete preclinical or clinical development, that either party
commits a material breach of the collaboration agreement, or that the
collaboration is terminated before Protagonist develops any peptide.
Applicable risks also include those that are listed in Ironwood
Pharmaceuticals’ Quarterly Report on Form 10‐Q for the three months ended
September 30, 2012, in addition to the risk factors that are listed from time
to time in Ironwood’s subsequent SEC filings. Ironwood undertakes no
obligation to update these forward‐looking statements to reflect events or
circumstances occurring after this press release. These forward‐looking
statements speak only as of the date of this press release. All
forward‐looking statements are qualified in their entirety by this cautionary


Protagonist Therapeutics
Dinesh V. Patel, +1 650-587-5766
President & CEO
Kureczka/Martin Associates
Joan Kureczka, +1 415-690-0210
Ironwood Pharmaceuticals
Media Relations:
Lisa Buffington, 617-374-5103
Investor Relations:
Meredith Kaya, 617-374-5082
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