By Kim Coghill
MitoKor has taken the next step in the development of its product pipeline through the acquisition of Apollo BioPharmaceuticals Inc., a private company based in Cambridge, Mass.
MitoKor, a private drug discovery and development company focused on mitochondrial biology, signed a formal agreement to purchase Apollo, said Walter Moos, chairman and CEO of San Diego-based MitoKor.
¿Apollo has a series of compounds and intellectual property around the compounds that are drug candidates in diseases we are interested in, [including] Parkinson¿s, Alzheimer¿s and stroke,¿ Moos said. ¿These compounds appear to trigger mitochondrial pathways and that is our focus.¿
Moos would not disclose financial details of the deal except to say it involves a combination of stock and cash.
MitoKor was founded in 1992 under the name Applied Genetics Inc. Its core technology is based on the identification of specific alterations in mitochondrial DNA associated with late-onset degenerative diseases of neurological, psychiatric and metabolic importance.
Mitochondria are the self-charging batteries and engines of cells, driving energy production, metabolism and cellular life and death as well as participating in other key signaling pathways. Mitochondrial dysfunction is a contributing factor in the pathophysiology of major diseases such as Alzheimer¿s and Parkinson¿s, osteoarthritis and Type II diabetes.
Apollo identifies, evaluates and develops neuroprotective pharmaceuticals called polycyclic phenolic compounds (PPC), including estrogen-like compounds. The company holds the rights to intellectual property on various compounds and their application in the treatment of Alzheimer¿s, stroke and adverse sequelae of cardiac surgery.
¿We plan to advance Apollo¿s compounds forward to enhance our pipeline of drug candidates and we may partner compounds,¿ Moos said. ¿They have an existing alliance with American Home Products [Corp., of Madison, N.J.] and we hope to continue and perhaps even expand that alliance.¿
Moos said, ¿We now have a stable, three-legged stool. We have mitochondrial as our biology function, we have Mimotopes, which we acquired a year ago providing us with combinatorial chemistry and fully integrating our drug discovery, and now we¿ve added a pipeline through the acquisition of Apollo.¿
MitoKor in February 2000 acquired Mimotopes, a subsidiary of Chiron Corp., of Emeryville, Calif., in order to integrate Mimotopes¿ combinatorial chemistry, solid phase synthesis and novel polymer systems.
Apollo, which will operate as a subsidiary of MitoKor, will retain its name. The company is conducting Phase I clinical work on its lead product, ABP-150, for the treatment of Parkinson¿s disease and has other products in preclinical stages.