BioWorld International Correspondent

LONDON - Lipoxen plc signed a $75 million deal with Baxter International Inc. to apply its PolyXen drug delivery technology to develop longer acting, patentable forms of marketed blood clotting products.

The agreement triggers a $1 million payment to London-based Lipoxen, with the rest of the money due on completion of milestones up to registration of a novel formulation of Factor VIII. Sales royalties will be payable in addition.

The agreement follows a 12-month evaluation looking at linking PolyXen with Baxter's proprietary proteins.

"I'm really pleased with the deal," CEO Scott Maguire told BioWorld International. "Baxter put a lot of manpower into assessing new delivery mechanisms, and ours is the one they have opted to take an exclusive license on."

PolyXen, based on the naturally occurring polymer polysialic acid, prolongs protein stability and half-life while reducing toxicity and immunological effects, compared to proteins that are pegylated. Maguire said the evaluation indicated Factor VIII treated with PolyXen was more effective, required fewer doses, and would have a new patent life. "There are other benefits I can't disclose, but this is a big deal for Baxter, too."

Baxter presented preclinical data on the PolyXen-treated Factor VIII at the American Society of Hematology 48th annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., last week.

Lipoxen joined London's Alternative Investment Market in January, reversing into a cash shell and simultaneously raising $6.8 million in a placing. In August, the company raised another $4.9 million through an equity investment by the vaccines manufacturer Serum Institute, of India, and agreed a deal for Serum to manufacture PolyXen.

Lipoxen's protein delivery technologies are being assessed by companies including Amgen, Genzyme and Genentech currently, and Maguire said he expects to do one or two further deals next year.