Yissum Research Development Company Ltd., the Technology Transfer Company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, announced today at the ILSI-Biomed Israel 2009 conference, it has signed an agreement with Aurum, Ventures MKI, the technology investment arm of Mr. Morris Kahn, for the development of a nanotechnology controlled release drug delivery platform that increases the bioavailability of orally administered lipophilic drugs. The technology was developed by Prof. Simon Benita at the Hebrew University's School of Pharmacy.
Initially, Aurum will sponsor a pre-clinical feasibility study that will assess the safety and efficacy of the proprietary oral delivery of an existing drug for the treatment of solid tumors that is currently delivered intravenously. Previous pre-clinical experiments on Tacrolimus, an effective drug which prevents the rejection of transplanted organs but is poorly and variably absorbed with marked intestine and liver metabolism, resulted in 2.4 times higher bioavailability.
"We are pleased to partner with Aurum on this exciting technology," said Yehuda Yarmut, Deputy CEO of Yissum. "The ability to deliver lipophilic drugs orally while bypassing specific potent barriers in the intestine and the liver carries tremendous potential. Prof. Benita, a seasoned inventor and entrepreneur and co-founder of Novagali SA, one of Yissum's most promising spin-offs, has once again demonstrated his ingenuity in developing a novel mechanism addressing many unmet medical needs."
Lipophilic drugs are poorly soluble in water, seriously limiting their bioavailability and clinical efficacy. In addition, when administrated orally 25% of these sensitive drugs cannot be absorbed because they activate an intestinal pump barrier and are metabolized in the intestines and liver. Therefore, currently many drugs present limited oral bioavailability or else are injected. Prof. Benita developed a breakthrough controlled release drug delivery system that is able to bypass intestinal and liver metabolic filters, resulting in increased bioavailability following oral administration, without any alteration of the drug molecules. This unique system allows changing the route of administration of highly lipophilic drugs from injectable to oral with potentially high bioavailability and lower side effects without affecting the normal physiological activity of the metabolic filters.
Dr. Dan J. Gelvan, Managing Director for Life Sciences of Aurum Ventures MKI added, "We are very excited with the potential of the technology to offer a significant breakthrough in the oral administration of many drugs and encouraged by the pre-clinical results. We are looking forward to the results of the initial part of our collaboration which we believe will provide a novel more convenient and safer therapeutic approach compared to intravenous injections."
Yissum Research Development Company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Ltd. was founded in 1964 to protect and commercialize the Hebrew University’s intellectual property. Products based on Hebrew University technologies that have been commercialized by Yissum currently generate $1.2 Billion in annual sales. Ranked among the top technology transfer companies in the world, Yissum has registered 6100 patents covering 1750 inventions; has licensed out 480 technologies and has spun out 65 companies. Yissum’s business partners span the globe and include companies such as Novartis, Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Intel, Teva and many more. For further information please visit http://www.yissum.co.il.
Aurum Ventures MKI is the technology investment arm of Morris Kahn, a prominent business man, philanthropist and entrepreneur. Aurum Ventures MKI invests in Israeli and Israel related companies in the fields of life sciences and clean-tech in all stages of development.