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Catalan biotech firm Oryzon has initiated a collaboration with PharmaMar –part of Group Zeltia, headquartered in Madrid (Spain)— to identify clinical markers for its different anti-tumor agents.

There is ever-increasing demand in both the healthcare and the pharma sectors for monitoring the efficacy of anti-tumor drugs. Clinical markers enable tracking of the drugs and more accurate interpretation of pre-clinical data to identify those compounds offering the greatest therapeutic potential. Moreover, they help prevent treatment of patients for whom the therapeutic benefit-to-risk ratio is unfavorable, thereby helping these patients to avoid any potential complications from an unnecessary and ineffective treatment.

PharmaMar is the leading biopharmaceutical company in oncology in Spain and the first company in the world to develop and market an anti-tumor drug of marine origin. The drug, Yondelis, has been authorized for treatment of ovarian cancer and of soft tissue carcinoma. The company currently has four drugs at various stages of development in its pipeline.

Oryzon boasts one of the most extensive biomarker technology platforms in Europe. With a strong specialization in genomics, proteomics and bioinformatics, the company can quickly identify differential clinical markers for various diseases. It currently employs 60 scientists.

The economic figures of the agreement have not been made public, but it is known to include a sizable milestone payment and an additional accord in which Oryzon is to provide PharmaMar with the markers it needs for various preclinical and clinical studies over several years.

Before the new agreement, the two companies were already collaborating within the CENIT program. Oryzon’s director of business development, Emili Torrell, stated that “This agreement was designed to establish a long term relationship. The two companies believe that collaboration and the identification of synergies are a fundamental response to the Spanish sector’s need for being internationally competitive with limited resources”. PharmaMar’s director of R&D, Carmen Cuevas, affirmed that “Collaboration is the ideal choice for providing society with new therapeutic solutions”.

Oryzon licenses Phage Display technology from Dyax Corp

This November Oryzon also signed a non-exclusive licensing contract with American company Dyax Corp to develop therapeutic antibody products based on the latter’s Phage Display technology.

The agreement provides Oryzon with access to Dyax’s human antibody libraries to discover and develop antibody products. According to Oryzon CEO Carlos Buesa, “Using Dyax’s technology, a validated drug-discovery platform, is a crucial step for securing our position in the arena of monoclonal antibodies, with the best partner possible”.

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