BioWorld International Correspondent

Rehovot-based XTL Biopharmaceuticals Ltd. acquired an exclusive license to develop and commercialize a series of antibodies to the hepatitis C virus developed in the laboratory of Steven Foung at Stanford University.

The agreement commits XTL to future potential milestones and royalty payments, and grants the Israeli company exclusive worldwide development and marketing rights for prevention and treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV) except for certain limited rights in China. Financial terms were not disclosed.

XTL, established in 1993, has identified a neutralizing antibody as a treatment candidate to be used in the prevention of HCV reinfection in liver transplant patients, which could potentially enhance XTL's treatment candidate, HepeX-C, also a human monoclonal antibody-based product, currently in Phase II studies in liver transplant patients.

The addition of the Stanford antibody, the result of a longstanding collaboration with Foung's laboratory, could increase the potency of the product by minimizing viral escape mutants and/or enhancing antiviral activity, said XTL's chief medical officer, Neil Graham.