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Jan 15, 2013

Peptide Development Goes Virtual

  • Velocity Pharmaceutical Development (VPD) will use a special-purpose virtual development company to carry out research and development of new peptide drugs.

    VPD’s development team will manage the development program, which will use EuMederis Pharmaceuticals' EuPort™ technology for improving the design, synthesis, and delivery of peptides. EuPort uses a chemical modification to increase the duration of action and bioavailability of peptides, generating what the company called optimized new chemical entities. The technology is designed to help develop the drugs quickly as well as counteract the short duration of action and self-injection requirements of typical peptide drugs, which limit their utility.

    "The EuMederis model of rapid peptide optimization has quickly provided us with an attractive peptide development candidate, and its low-infrastructure organization is consistent with our plan for Velocity Pharmaceutical Development," David J. Collier, M.D., VPD’s CEO, said in a statement.

    Financial terms of the clinical development agreement, and the therapeutic targets of the research, were not disclosed.

    VPD uses virtual management in advancing promising drug candidates to clinical human proof-of-concept quickly, generally within a year of their entering human clinical trials or after initial human clinical data have been generated. According to its website, VPD seeks both small- and large-molecule drug candidates in “late preclinical or early clinical stage,” requiring less than $15 million and 3.5 years to human proof-of-concept.

    VPD—whose slogan is “We Build Drugs, Not Companies”™—uses a team of clinical drug developers with expertise in identifying attractive drug candidates, target markets, and designing and managing outsourced clinical trials to manage multiple single-asset companies, with the goal of cutting costly overhead and disincentives found in many traditional biotechnology companies.

    After attaining successful human proof of concept, VPD pursues a large pharmaceutical acquirer for each drug program. VPD says it quickly identifies drug candidates with the greatest promise, and shifts out capital from candidates that don't show early success: “VPD believes this new capital-efficient model will yield attractive new drugs to treat patients with significant unmet clinical needs,” the company said in the statement.

    EuMederis is a seed-phase drug discovery company focused on peptide pharmaceuticals with improved bioavailability and dosing schedules. Initial products carry indications in pain, control of osteoporosis, and the reversal of the inflammatory component of the metabolic syndrome (insulin resistance, diabetes, hypertension, atherosclerosis) resulting from obesity. Eumederis’ CEO, John J. Nestor, Jr., Ph.D., has more than 35 years of experience in peptide hormone design and development including serving as lead inventor of drugs marketed by Roche (Valcyte®), Merck and predecessor Organon (Orgalutran®), and Pfizer and predecessor Searle (Synarel®).


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