Guildford, UK, 26 January 2009: ReNeuron Group plc (LSE: RENE.L) today announces that it has signed a licence with BioFocus DPI, the service division of Galapagos NV. Under the licence, ReNeuron will make available to BioFocus DPI one of its neural stem cell lines derived from the striatum, the region of the brain most commonly affected by Huntington’s disease (HD). BioFocus DPI researchers will use the cell line to validate HD drug targets that were discovered by BioFocus DPI. The research is being conducted by BioFocus DPI on behalf of CHDI Foundation, Inc., a US-based non-profit organisation whose mission is to rapidly discover and develop drugs that delay or slow the progression of Huntington’s disease. ReNeuron will receive licence fees for the provision of the cell line for this purpose.
Michael Hunt, Chief Executive Officer of ReNeuron, said:
“We are delighted to be able to collaborate with BioFocus DPI in the process of researching potential new drug targets for this devastating and currently untreatable disease. The cell line concerned has already shown its potential as a valid model of HD in the laboratory and is a further demonstration of the versatility of our range of stem cell lines for therapeutic and drug research applications.”
Kate Hilyard, VP of Biological Sciences, BioFocus DPI, said:
“By working with disease-relevant cells, such as the neuronal stem cell line supplied by ReNeuron, we further our understanding of a potential target’s role in the HD pathway and identify the most promising intervention points for drug discovery.”
Michael Hunt, Chief Executive Officer +44 (0) 1483 302560
Dr John Sinden, Chief Scientific Officer
David Yates/Susan Quigley, Financial Dynamics +44 (0) 20 7831 3113
Stewart Wallace, Adam Cowen, Collins Stewart +44 (0) 20 7523 8350
Kate Hilyard, VP Biological Sciences, BioFocus DPI + 44 (0) 1799 533 500
Bonnie Lee La Madeleine, Communications Director, CHDI Management
+1 310 342 5524
About Huntington’s disease
Huntington’s disease is a familial disease caused by a mutation in the huntingtin gene. Each child of a person with a mutation in the huntingtin gene has a 50-50 chance of inheriting the mutation. As a result of carrying the mutation, an individual’s brain cells fail and die leading to cognitive and physical impairments that, over the course of the disease, significantly impair the individual’s quality of life and ultimately causes death. Symptoms of Huntington’s disease, which generally develop in midlife and become progressively more debilitating as time passes, can also develop in infancy or old age. Once overt symptoms start, patients live for about 15 to 20 years. One person in 10,000 is believed to carry a mutation in the huntingtin gene. There is currently no way to delay the onset of symptoms or slow the progression of Huntington’s disease.
ReNeuron is a leading, UK-based stem cell company. Its primary objective is the development of stem cell therapies targeting areas of significant unmet or poorly met medical need. ReNeuron expects to commence initial clinical studies with its lead ReN001 stem cell therapy for disabled stroke patients in the UK in the second quarter of 2009. There are an estimated 50 million stroke survivors worldwide, approximately one-half of which are left with permanent disabilities. The annual health and social costs of caring for these patients is estimated to be in excess of £5 billion in the UK and in excess of US$50 billion in the USA. In addition to its stroke programme, ReNeuron is developing stem cell therapies for a number of other conditions, including peripheral ischaemia, Type 1 diabetes and diseases of the retina.
ReNeuron has also developed a range of stem cell lines for non-therapeutic applications, its ReNcell® products for use in academic and commercial research. The Company’s ReNcell®CX and ReNcell®VM neural cell lines are marketed worldwide under license by USA-based Millipore Corporation.
ReNeuron’s shares are traded on the London AIM market under the symbol RENE.L. Further information on ReNeuron and its products can be found at www.reneuron.com.