Amarantus BioSciences is paying Power3 Medical Products $500,000 in cash and stock to license the latter’s NuroPro® blood test for use in the diagnosis of Parkinson disease. Amarantus paid Power3 $25,000 in November 2011 as an exclusivity fee, and will now issue the firm with $475,000 worth of common stock. Amarantus also retains an option to purchase all of the Parkinson disease IP owned by Power3 for another $500,000 worth of common stock, and has right of first refusal to acquire the balance of the NuroPro platform for Alzheimer disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and other neurodegenerative diseases.
The serum-based NuroPro test is a neurodegenerative disease diagnostic platform that monitors the concentration of 57 protein markers to detect and distinguish between Alzheimer disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and Parkinson disease. Amarantus says it aims to add another 21 protein markers to biomarker panel, to target specifically the early diagnosis and monitoring of Parkinson disease.
The firm says the Parkinson disease application of NuroPro has already completed Phase I clinical validation studies. A Phase II clinical validation trial is projected to start during the first half of 2012. This study will be managed in partnership with Power3, as part of the latter’s strategy to build a CRO business unit.
Amarantus’ own lead therapeutic candidate, MANF, is a neurotrophic factor currently in preclinical development for the treatment of apoptosis-related disorders, including Parkinson disease and ischemic heart disease. Identified using the firm’s PhenoGuard Protein Discovery Engine, MANF is an endogenous human growth factor, which Amarantus claims has a mechanism of action that is fundamentally distinct from other neurotrophic factors. The candidate is expected to be highly selective for protecting dopamine-producing neurons of the substantia nigra, preventing cell death, and thus halting the progression of Parkinson disease and restoring normal function to patients.
“The inlicense of the NuroPro Blood Test for Parkinson disease expands our product offering,” states Gerald Commissioning, president and CEO at Amarantus. "Now that we will be able to tailor our therapeutic development pathway toward a companion diagnostic product that we control, Amarantus is positioned to build a strategic advantage over competitors as the execution of our clinical and regulatory strategy continues to advance MANF as a disease-modifying treatment for Parkinson disease.”