13 February 2007
('VASTox' or 'the Company')
VASTox SIGNS TWO DRUG DISCOVERY COLLABORATION DEALS WORTH A COMBINED €1 MILLION
Collaborations with Rottapharm and an unnamed European biotech company leverage
on VASTox's zebrafish chemical genomics platform and medicinal chemistry
Oxford, UK, 13 February 2007 - VASTox plc (AIM: VOX) announced today that it has
signed two long-term chemical genomics deals with a combined value of €1
million. The first deal sees VASTox entering into a long-term drug discovery
and toxicology screening collaboration with the multinational pharmaceutical
company Rottapharm S.p.A. The total deal is worth up to €365,000 over 12
months, which includes an upfront payment and research funding milestones.
Under the terms of this deal, VASTox and Rottapharm will collaborate in the
generation of a screening model for osteoarthritis that will test potential drug
candidates and therefore accelerate Rottapharm's unique discovery programme. In
addition, VASTox will provide predictive safety and toxicology testing using its
proprietary 'vivo(TM)' technology platform, which will ensure, early in the
discovery process, that only high quality compounds are selected. This deal
follows a successful pilot project in 2006 that used VASTox's unique technology
platform and high content screening experience and expertise.
The second deal announced today is with an unnamed European biotechnology
company and will use VASTox's medicinal chemistry expertise and experience in a
research collaboration to support one of the client's drug discovery programmes.
This deal will see VASTox paid up to €635,000 over 10 months and was secured
after VASTox had successfully completed previous service contracts with the
Commenting on the contracts, VASTox's CEO Steven Lee, PhD, said 'These are two
very significant deals for VASTox as they further underline the benefits that
our chemical genomics technology platform brings to drug discovery and highlight
our strong expertise in chemistry. These attributes and capabilities are
gaining increasing industry recognition and consequently leading to a greater
awareness of and interest in VASTox's unique drug discovery and service
offerings. Furthermore these long-term partnerships will continue to validate
our hybrid business model designed to generate maximum returns from our
technology platform and scientific expertise outside our internal drug discovery
- ends -
For more information, please contact:
Steven Lee, PhD, Chief Executive Officer Tel: +44 (0)1235 443910
Darren Millington, Chief Financial Officer
Citigate Dewe Rogerson
Mark Swallow / David Dible / Valerie Auffray Tel: +44 (0)207 638 9571
About VASTox's zebrafish platform
VASTox's zebrafish (Danio rerio) technology platform allows high-volume,
high-content screening of small molecule drug candidates. This approach
generates in vivo data, which can be used to determine key characteristics of
potential drug candidates. These data are highly predictive of efficacy and
toxicity in humans, reducing the risk of failure in discovery programmes, while
having the potential to dramatically decrease the time and cost of drug
discovery and development.
VASTox has developed a wide range of validated toxicology screens, the 'vivo(TM)
' screening platform to assess compound safety and potential side effects. These
• Acute toxicity
• Acute toxicity
About Rottapharm S.p.A.
Rottapharm S.p.A. is an Italian pharmaceutical and healthcare company which was
founded in 1961 by Luigi Rovati, a pharmacology professor at the University of
Pavia. The Company currently employees over 1400 people and have its
headquarters and central research facility in Monza, Italy. With sales in 2005
of €279 million, Rottapharm has a broad product portfolio across a range of
therapeutic areas including rheumatology, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular,
respiratory and central nervous system disorders as well as women's health. The
company has manufacturing sites in Ireland, Germany, Portugal and Italy and
operate globally in over 60 countries.
More information about Rottapharm is available at www.rotta.com
About VASTox plc
VASTox is a chemical genomics biotechnology company that discovers and develops
proprietary novel drugs and provides services to the pharmaceutical industry.
The company's most advanced drug development programme is focused on developing
a new treatment for Duchenne muscular dystrophy based on the up-regulation of
utrophin. A second drug development programme for spinal muscular atrophy is
also progressing rapidly. VASTox has additional programmes focused on
osteoarthritis, cancer, tuberculosis and stem cells that are expected to be
out-licensed prior to entering the clinic.
The company's technology platform, which uses zebrafish and fruitflies, has the
potential to dramatically decrease the time and cost of drug discovery and
development. This is because using whole organisms allows it to carry out high
volume, high content screening that delivers data which is highly predictive of
the efficacy and toxicity of potential drug compounds in humans. VASTox is
growing revenues based on marketing its unique technology platform and its
chemistry expertise. The company listed on the AIM market of the London Stock
Exchange in October 2004.
Further information about the company is available at www.vastox.com.
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