Ecopia and Caprion pool resources

By Dr Matt Wilkinson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Escherichia coli

Caprion and Ecopia have agreed to merge as equals to form an as yet
unnamed public entity with three programs in cancer and infectious
diseases in clinical development.

The merged company aims to raise $30m of future investment to assist the development of their active clinical candiadates and strengthen their pipeline.

Talking to, Michael Singer, Caprion chief financial officer, said: "the merger will allow us to attain critical mass and diversify risk with a nice healthy pipeline of clinical candidates."

The merger will see Caprion look to off-load CellCarta, their proteomics section, to focus purely on new clinical candidates, although Singer was keen to stress that they would never want to lose the ability to have access to their proteomic technologies.

The move has already gained the backing of Picchio Pharma and Power Technology Investment Corporation to the tune of $4m of proposed financing.

Discussions about future operations are still in early stages, but integration should be relatively simple due to the two companies being based within 7km of each other.

Caprion's most advanced drug candidate is ShigamAb an antibody combination to fight against Shiga toxin producing Escherichia coli​ (STEC). STEC is believed to affect more than 200,000 patients a year in the US and has been identified as the most common cause of acute renal failure in children, inducing diarrhoea-associated haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS), which is a life-threatening condition.

The shiga toxins produced by E. coli​ inhibit protien synthesis within cells by acting as N-glycosidase, cleaving nucleobases from ribosomal RNA in a mechanism similar to that of the ricin toxin. There are currently no approved products for STEC treatment or the treatment of HUS.

The therapy was granted orphan drug status in December 2005, which would ensure 10 years of market exclusivity if the product is approved for marketing in the European Union (EU) and seven years exclusivity if approved in the US.

Pre-clinical studies have shown the ShigamAb therapy to be safe and highly efficacious as they bind exclusively to Shiga-toxins, and can even have protective effects up to 72-hours after infection.

Ecopia's lead drug candidate is ECO-4601, a novel anticancer agent which exhibits anti-proliferative activity against numerous human cancer cell lines including leukemia and melanoma.

ECO-4601 was identified using Ecopia's genomics and bioinformatics Discover technology from Actinomycete bacteria.

Related topics Preclinical Research

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