RCP’s big plans for nanotechnology

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Robert Sexauer, CEO of biopharmaceuticals group RCP Therapeutics, says the R&D investment deal signed with FirstPoint Biotech shows the attractiveness of the firm’s nano-medical pipeline, particularly given the current economic climate.

In an interview, Sexauer said that RCP’s candidate product nano-SOD, a free-radical scavenger being developed for the stroke and reperfusion injury markets, will be the first drug to benefit from the $10m (€8m) funding injection with Phase I trials planned for 2009.

He explained that, in contrast with existing stroke drugs that must be used within three hours of an event, delivery advantages offered by RCP’s nanotechnology could increase the effective therapy window to between eight and 12 hours, potentially helping many more patients.

At present, the stroke treatment market is dominated by Genentech’s range of thrombolytics which, according to Sexauer, generate around $300m a year in global sales.

However, RCP’s plans for nano-SOD are not solely focused on ischemic stroke. Sexauer went on to say that the technology’s anti-oxidant properties have application in a large number of conditions ranging from Alzheimer’s and rheumatoid arthritis to type 2 diabetes and vascular aging.

He added that, in the long-term, a nano-SOD based system may be used to improve the preservation of transplant organs, suggesting that this is an avenue that RCP intends to explore.

Nano-SOD’s development will be carried forward by the new entity FirstPoint RCP Therapeutics, which will be set up after a 60 day due diligence period under the terms of FirstPoint’s investment.

The funding deal will also see RCP hive off its cosmaceuticals unit that makes the dermal anti-aging product Biomene, which is also based on the firm’s nanotechnology.

In a press statement, FirstPoint Biotech’s executive chairman, Roslynne Flacks, explained that the investment is in keeping with the group’s commitment to innovative and breakthrough technologies.

Flacks also said that RCP’s UK base will “enable the organisation to take full advantage of the country’s status as a preferred location for emerging biotechnology and regenerative medicine companies.”

The choice of the UK as RCP’s HQ was also picked up by Sexauer, who believes the country will serve as an ideal base for the company’s move into the expanding regenerative therapy sector.

He explained that, in the long term, RCP plans to license more cell therapy technologies for combination with its sub-cellular delivery platform, adding that the company intends to set up a dedicated R&D facility in Cambridge in the UK.

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