Allozyne, Developer of Multiple Sclerosis Drug in Fewer Shots, Poised to Enter Clinical Trials
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Besides attaching polymers to drugs, Allozyne’s technique can also be used to attach potent toxins onto genetically engineered drugs, sort of like how Seattle Genetics is developing a souped-up antibody drug for Hodgkin’s disease. If the MS trial shows promise, I’d expect Allozyne to move forward with one of these more novel products, rather than another new-and-improved version of an existing drug. “We don’t want to be seen as just a pegylation company,” van Houte says.
When I met Chhabra over lunch at Joey’s Restaurant a couple weeks ago in South Lake Union, she was eager to tell me about a meeting the company had recently had with the FDA about clinical trial preparations. She expects the trial to get underway before the end of March, in healthy volunteers. She’s busy keeping big drugmakers apprised about partnership possibilities with this drug, because in order to win approval, Allozyne will have to do clinical trials that are way too big for a venture-backed company to do alone. The question is how far it should go alone, building value in the program, so it can get the best terms for a deal.
There’s no rush to sell the baby away. Allozyne currently has about 20 employees and enough cash to carry out its current plans to the end of 2010, Chhabra says. By then, she expects to have the MS drug in Phase II clinical trials, one other drug candidate in human testing, and two to four drugs teed up to enter the clinic. If she can deliver on all of that, then she’ll be holding a pretty strong hand of cards when it’s time to deal with her old friends in Big Pharma.