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PIramed Signs Collaboration with Genentech to Develop New Class of Anti-Cancer Drugs



Wednesday 30 November 2005


PIramed Limited (PIramed), a privately owned UK biotechnology company, announces that it has entered into an R&D collaboration with a leading biotechnology company, Genentech, Inc. (NYSE: DNA), regarding a new class of cancer drugs.  The drugs target PI 3-kinase, a key intracellular enzyme involved in a broad range of cancers.

Under the terms of the Agreement, PIramed will receive an upfront payment and may receive milestone payments during development and on product approval up to a potential aggregate of approximately US$230 million.  The company will also receive research funding and will receive royalties on product sales in the event of commercialised products.  PIramed will conduct preclinical research with Genentech and Genentech will be solely responsible for clinical development, regulatory approvals, manufacturing and commercialisation.  As part of the collaboration, PIramed can opt to commercialise certain products in territories outside of the United States on agreed terms.

PIramed is backed by JP Morgan Partners and Merlin Biosciences and is focused on drug discovery in oncology. The company is developing new classes of small molecule anti-tumour agents, termed signal transduction inhibitors (STI).  These compounds target critical intracellular proteins that function as key regulators of aspects of cancer including proliferation, invasion, angiogenesis and metastasis. As a class, STIs are having significant impact on cancer treatment and are accelerating the adoption of personalised medicine.

Commenting on the collaboration Dr Michael Moore, Chief Executive Officer of PIramed, said: “We believe this alliance with Genentech is one of the largest preclinical collaborations ever signed by a UK biotechnology company and is an important deal for PIramed. We believe it validates PIramed’s leadership position in this novel approach to drug discovery and provides the Company with additional resources to develop its growing portfolio of small molecule drug candidates. The option to commercialise outside of the United States is important for PIramed as it provides the company with the opportunity of retaining significant upside out of a successful collaboration with Genentech.”

Dr David Knowles, Chief Scientific Officer of PIramed, said: “PI 3-kinase represents an important new therapeutic target in oncology and inhibitors have the potential to treat a range of common tumours affecting a large population of patients. Partnering the programme at this stage provides the resources necessary to maximise this therapeutic opportunity”.


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For more information, please contact:

Piramed Limited

Michael Moore, Chief Executive Officer

Tel: +44 1753 285 803

[email protected]  


Financial Dynamics

Ben Atwell                             

Tel: +44 207 831 3113

Notes to editors


  1. About PIramed. Based in Slough, UK, PIramed is an emerging biotechnology company founded by Professor Michael Waterfield FRS, Professor Peter Parker and Professor Paul Workman with JPMorgan Partners as the founding investor. PIramed discovers and develops inhibitors of the phosphatidinylinositol 3-kinase (PI 3-kinase) superfamily for cancer and non-cancer indications such as immune-inflammation.   PI 3-kinase is a signalling enzyme that has key roles in cell cycle regulation, proliferation, survival, apoptosis and motility. 
  2. The company received Series A funding and convertible loan notes of £10 (US$17) million from JPMorgan Partners and Merlin Biosciences in July 2003 and August 2005.  Through separate agreements, PIramed has an exclusive licence to novel chemical entities which arose from a tri-partite collaboration between three major cancer research institutes with UK operations (the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Cancer Research UK and the Institute of Cancer Research) and Yamanouchi Pharmaceutical Company (now Astellas Pharma Inc.). The company also has an exclusive licence for screening PI 3-kinase from the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and a research collaboration agreement with the CR UK Centre for Cancer Therapeutics at the Institute of Cancer Research.  
  3. For more information about PIramed, visit the website at



With the exception of the historical information presented, this news release contains “forward-looking statements” about the discovery, development and commercialisation of products. Various risks may cause PIramed's actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by the forward looking statements, including: adverse results in the company’s  drug discovery and clinical development programmes; failure to obtain patent protection for the company’s  discoveries; commercial limitations imposed by patents owned or controlled by third parties; the company’s dependence upon strategic alliance partners to develop and commercialize products; difficulties or delays in obtaining regulatory approvals to market products resulting from the company’s development efforts; the requirement for substantial funding to conduct research and development and to expand commercialization activities; and product initiatives by competitors. The Company disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events otherwise.

Please note:
Unfortunately the press office are unable to answer queries from the general public. For general cancer information please refer to The Institute's cancer information page.

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