Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Afraxis, Inc. Announce Novel Drug
Partnership to Leverage Innovative Dendritic Spine Analysis and Technology to
Find, Distinguish and Expedite Discovery of CNS Treatments
MARLBOROUGH, Mass. & SAN DIEGO -- August 13, 2013
Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Sunovion) and Afraxis, Inc. today announced
that they have signed a partnership agreement to utilize the unique Enhanced
Spine Platform (ESP) developed by Afraxis, Inc. to accelerate Sunovion’s
preclinical central nervous system (CNS) drug discovery process. The use of
this proprietary platform will allow Sunovion to identify novel CNS compounds
that are potentially superior to existing treatments. While the full financial
terms have not been disclosed, Afraxis will be eligible for certain milestone
payments for each compound through phase 2 clinical trial initiation.
“Our partnership with Afraxis is one of several ways that Sunovion Discovery
is taking a fresh approach to CNS drug discovery using systems biology as a
fundamental strategy,” said Tom Large, senior vice president of discovery
research at Sunovion. “A key goal of the partnership is to use ESP to guide
the optimization of clinical drugs for a range of complex and often
devastating psychiatric and neurological disorders.”
Dendritic spines are small protrusions on neuronal dendrites; they receive and
store information from synapses and transmit that information to the neuronal
cell body. Detailed analysis of dendritic spine morphology across distributed
brain regions yields reliable disease spine "signatures" that can be used to
screen for drug candidates that correct the disease-specific spine
abnormalities. The technology behind the Afraxis ESP platform uses
well-accepted dendritic spine measurement methods to evaluate spine morphology
at rates of greater than a half million spines per month. The resulting
information is invaluable and time-saving when making assessments of a
molecule’s novel pharmacology and efficacy during preclinical testing.
“The scope of this collaboration with Sunovion envisions running up to one
thousand compounds through our proprietary platform,” said Carmine Stengone,
chief executive officer of Afraxis, Inc. “This collaboration offers further
validation of the Afraxis ESP technology, and we feel the combination of
Sunovion and Afraxis efforts will increase the odds of finding potential
treatments in areas of high unmet medical need.”
About Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Sunovion is a leading pharmaceutical company dedicated to discovering,
developing and commercializing therapeutic products that advance the science
of medicine in the Psychiatry, Neurology and Respiratory disease areas and
improve the lives of patients and their families. Sunovion's drug development
program, together with its corporate development and licensing efforts, has
yielded a portfolio of pharmaceutical products including LATUDA^® (lurasidone
HCl) tablets, LUNESTA^® (eszopiclone) tablets, XOPENEX^® (levalbuterol HCI)
inhalation solution, XOPENEX HFA^® (levalbuterol tartrate) inhalation aerosol,
BROVANA^® (arformoterol tartrate) inhalation solution, OMNARIS^® (ciclesonide)
nasal spray, ZETONNA^® (ciclesonide) nasal aerosol and ALVESCO^® (ciclesonide)
Sunovion, an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma
Co., Ltd., is headquartered in Marlborough, Mass. More information about
Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. is available at www.sunovion.com.
About Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma Co., Ltd. (DSP)
Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma Co., Ltd. (DSP) is a multi-billion dollar, top-ten
listed pharmaceutical company in Japan with a diverse portfolio of
pharmaceutical, animal health and food and specialty products. DSP aims to
produce innovative pharmaceutical products in the Psychiatry & Neurology
field, which has been designated as one of the two key therapeutic areas. DSP
is based on the merger in 2005 between Dainippon Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., and
Sumitomo Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd. Today, DSP has more than 7,000 employees
worldwide. Additional information about DSP is available through its corporate
website at www.ds-pharma.com.
LATUDA is a registered trademark of Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma Co., Ltd.
LUNESTA, XOPENEX, XOPENEX HFA and BROVANA are registered trademarks of
Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. OMNARIS and ALVESCO are registered trademarks of
Nycomed GmbH, used with permission.
Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. is a U.S. subsidiary of Dainippon Sumitomo
Pharma Co., Ltd.^© 2013 Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc.
About Afraxis, Inc.
Afraxis, Inc. is a San Diego-based drug discovery platform company recently
spun-out of Afraxis Holdings. The company is part of a growing wave of
innovative neuroscience that applies cutting-edge technical and computational
approaches to fundamental issues in brain science that promise to generate new
insights into CNS diseases. Afraxis develops and uses high content central
nervous system (CNS) pharmaceutical screening technologies to evaluate
preclinical efficacy for potential treatments for neurological and psychiatric
disorders. Afraxis developed the Enhanced Spine Platform (ESP) Technology
platform, which quantifies the morphology and maturity of synaptic dendritic
spines that are fundamental to information processing by neural synapses in
the brain. Abnormal dendritic spine quantity and morphology have been
associated with numerous CNS disorders, including schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s
disease, Fragile X syndrome and autism. Afraxis has a strategic alliance with
PsychoGenics to offer its ESP Technology as part of PsychoGenics’
comprehensive testing capabilities and drug discovery science. For more
information visit www.afraxis.com.
For a copy of this release, visit Sunovion’s web site at www.sunovion.com
Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available:
Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Candace Steele Flippin, 508-787-4353
Senior Director, Corporate Communications
Heidi Chokeir, Ph.D., 619-849-5377
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