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Alizé Pharma: signing of a licensing agreement with EUSA Pharma for Asparec therapy for treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia

4 May 2012

  • version française

Alizé Pharma II, a drug development company focused on oncology and metabolism and part of the Alizé Pharma group, announced on 2nd February 2012 the signing of a licensing agreement with EUSA Pharma for ASPAREC, a new L-asparaginase product currently in Phase I clinical development for the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Pursuant to the agreement, EUSA Pharma will be responsible for the development and worldwide commercialization of ASPAREC. In return, Alizé Pharma has received an upfront payment, and will be entitled to additional regulatory milestone payments and royalties on sales.

ASPAREC is Alizé Pharma's PEGylated recombinant L-asparaginase derived from Erwinia chrysanthemi. It is being developed as a treatment for ALL in patients with hypersensitivity to E. coli-derived L-asparaginase.

Preclinical data indicate that ASPAREC is both longer acting and less immunogenic than the currently available Erwinia chrysanthemi derived L-asparaginase product.

Statements of Alizé Pharma's President and founder, Thierry Abribat

"This agreement between Alizé Pharma and EUSA Pharma, a worldwide leader in the development and marketing of L-asparaginase products, is excellent news for us, for our investors and for ALL patients" said Alizé Pharma's President and founder, Thierry Abribat.

"It validates our medical approach, emphasizes our drug development capabilities, and fits well with our business strategy, which is to establish partnerships with the pharmaceutical industry early in the development of our programs in order to secure both near-term and long-term revenue streams."

Statements of Bryan Morton, President and Chief Executive Officer of EUSA Pharma

"We are delighted to reach this agreement with Alizé Pharma. ASPAREC fits perfectly with EUSA's specialty focus on oncology and orphan diseases, and builds on our established portfolio in the field of ALL, said Bryan Morton, President and Chief Executive Officer of EUSA Pharma.

"This agreement follows the approval last year of EUSA's first internally developed product, and further underlines the company's strategic transition into a fully fledged development as well as commercialization organization."

About acute lymphoblastic leukemia and L-asparaginase

ALL is the most common form of childhood cancer and also affects adults, with approximately 10 000 to 15 000 patients diagnosed in Europe and the USA each year. It is also one of the most curable forms of cancer, with remission rates in treated children of over 95% and 75–85% surviving at least five years without recurrence of leukemia.

Treatment involves a number of stages and drugs, and typically includes L-asparaginase as an essential component of current protocols.

L-asparaginase enzymes deplete the level of asparagine in the bloodstream. Asparagine is essential for cell growth, and its removal from the blood inhibits the growth of cells associated with ALL. L-asparaginase treatments are derived from bacteria, and approximately 15-20% of patients develop hypersensitivity to modern products derived from E. coli, preventing their continued treatment.

About ASPAREC

ASPAREC is a proprietary PEGylated recombinant Erwinia chrysantemi-derived L-asparaginase that has significant potential to become a key product for the treatment of ALL in patients with hypersensitivity to E. coli-derived L-asparaginase.

ASPAREC is currently in Phase I development in France. It is protected by a patent filed internationally, and by orphan drug designations granted both in the US and Europe.

The ASPAREC project has been accredited by the Lyonbiopôle competitive cluster; it has been financially supported in part with a grant contributed both by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Greater Lyon Authority.

Find out more

Alizé Pharma is a group of companies specialized in the development of innovative biopharmaceutical drugs, proteins and peptides, for the treatment of metabolic diseases and cancer. Its management is made up of a team of drug development experts and a board of directors offering wide international experience.

Since its inception in 2007, the group has raised 5 M€ with private and institutional investors.

The first of the two entities of the Group, Alizé Pharma, is dedicated to AZP-01, a peptide derived from unacylated ghrelin, currently at the preclinical stage of development for the treatment of Type II.

The second entity, Alizé Pharma II, is focused on the development of ASPAREC (AZP-02).