Drug development co Avraham Pharmaceuticals raises $3m

Avraham Pharmaceuticals has begun a Phase II clinical trials of its treatment, which combines existing drugs from Teva and Novartis.

Avraham Pharmaceuticals Ltd., which is developing a treatment for Alzheimer's disease, has raised $3 million. Eli Hurvitz's Pontifax Fund, Clal Biotechnology Industries Ltd. (TASE: CBI), Yissum Technology Transfer Company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the Technion Research and Development Foundation have participated in the financing round. Prof. Marta Weinstock-Rosin of Hebrew University, the inventor of Exelon, made by Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS; LSE: NOV; SWX: NOVZ), also participated in the round.

Avraham Pharmaceuticals announced that it has begun Phase II clinical trials of its treatment, which is a new molecule in which components from two existing drugs are combined: Teva's Azilect used to treat Parkinson's disease, and Novartis's Exelon used to treat Alzheimer's disease.

The drug was developed by Teva for over ten years, but then returned to Yissum and the Technion because of patent considerations and the project was taking such a long time. Since then, the company has been re-established, has raised $9 million, and a few changes in the patent were made making it valid for a longer period of time. Teva has proven in clinical trials that the drug is safe and that it affects the body as expected, ie. causes a rise or fall in the level of chemicals associated with Alzheimer's in the blood. The drug has not, however, reached the trial stage in which its benefit to real patients has been examined. Avraham Pharmaceuticals now has the responsibility to prove this.

In addition to its experiments concerning Alzheimer's disease, Avraham Pharmaceuticals will soon begin clinical trials of a drug that treats mild cognitive impairment, which is thought to precede Alzheimer's disease.

Yissum Technology has announced that its 30% stake in Avraham Pharmaceuticals (after the latest investment) will be transferred to a new holding company that it founded in the biotech field.

Sources inform "Globes" that besides Avraham Pharmaceuticals, the holding company will include six other companies that are currently conducting clinical trials: Tiltan Pharma, VCD, Autocas Bio, Lipicure, Algen Biopharmaceuticals and Novotyr Therapeutics. The holding company is called Integra and it is currently in the midst of a private financing round. Integra will be managed by Dr. Noa Shelach, a former Weizmann Institute Yeda manager, and CBI-Weizmann Institute Campus Bio project manager.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on November 13, 2011

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2011

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