West Coast Editor

Adding to an existing GlycoPEGylation deal with BioGeneriX AG, Neose Technologies Inc. signed a deal with the same German firm for an undisclosed therapeutic protein that could mean up to $61.5 million, plus royalties, for Neose.

Officials at Horsham, Pa.-based Neose could not be reached for comment. The company's stock (NASDAQ:NTEC) closed Monday at $6.65, up 5 cents.

The supply and option agreement is designed to develop a long-acting version of a marketed protein using Neose's GlycoPEGylation approach, which improves the traditional chemical pegylation approach by linking variously sized polyethylene glycol polymers to glycans remote from the active site, thus preserving activity.

Mannheim, Germany-based BioGeneriX and Neose are entering a three-month investigational period, with Neose getting a payment and supply of the protein for research purposes. As the research goes on, BioGenerix might choose to enter a pre-negotiated research, license and option agreement under which Neose would get up-front and research money and could end up with milestone payments totaling up to $61.5 million.

BioGeneriX would have the right to an exclusive, worldwide license to use Neose's GlycoPEGylation technology to develop and commercialize a long-acting, next-generation version of the drug.

In April, the companies began a deal involving the use of GlycoPEGylation with granulocyte-colony stimulating factor. They are sharing preclinical expenses, and BioGeneriX is funding the clinical development program. Neose got an up-front fee and commercial rights in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Japan, with BioGeneriX having commercial rights in Europe and the rest of the world. Each gets royalties on sales in the other's territory.

Also last spring, Neose said it was delaying plans to file an investigational new drug application for GlycoPEG-EPO until the second quarter of this year in order to boost post-purification output.

The company has another carbohydrate technology, GlycoAdvance, which uses enzymes to complete the sugar chains on glycoprotein drugs that have been produced using mammalian cell culture. Completing of sugar chains protects glycoprotein drugs from rapid uptake by the liver.

In the works is GlycoConjugation, described as "an emerging application" of Neose's technology, which can make novel therapeutic glycoproteins by conjugating bioactive or functional compounds to the glycans on antibodies and other glycoproteins.

The company said much data generated with the approaches can't be shared because of partner confidentiality, but some results have been disclosed. Cambridge, Mass.-based Biogen Idec Inc. and Eli Lilly and Co., of Indianapolis, reported in 2001 that GlycoAdvance improved in vivo half-life of a protein produced in two different cell lines by 48 percent and 245 percent.

In 2002, Avant Immunotherapeutics Inc., of Needham, Mass., offered results showing that GlycoAdvance was able to double the circulatory half-life of its TP10, a complement inhibitor designed to reduce complement-mediated tissue damage associated with cardiac bypass surgery. TP10 since has moved along nicely, has yielded positive Phase II results in men, and will be tested in women next, Avant said in February.

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