Unigene cuts SDBG to focus gaze on peptides

By Natalie Morrison

- Last updated on GMT

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Peptide-based therapeutics specialists Unigene will focus on high valuation drug development and drug delivery opportunities after cutting loose its Site Directed Bone Growth (SDBG) patent portfolio.

At present the SDBG bone fracture therapy system uses one biologic agent as well as a systemic anabolic agent produced by Unigene.

Under the deal, the firm signed over seven patent portfolios to Kieran Murphy, LLC – founded by clinical key opinion leader Kieran Murphy – at the same time terminating an exclusive license agreement and consulting agreement with the same company.

Unigene will receive sales royalties in excess of seven percent and will receive 40 percent of any future licensing revenue, as well as 40 percent of all considerations received upon the subsequent sale of the SDBG patent portfolio by Kieran Murphy.

The firm’s VP of corporate development and general counsel, Greg Mayes, said the move means it can now focus on its core assets.

He said: “SDBG was the one remaining non-core asset that did not fit Unigene's high valuation drug development and oral peptide drug delivery strategy.

“We have now found an excellent home for this otherwise valuable asset. We have every confidence that Dr. Murphy will apply the right resources and expertise to quickly demonstrate proof of concept and license out the opportunity to one or more competent commercialization partners.”

An equally amicable Murphy added: "I recognize the tremendous value in the Site Directed Bone Growth Program and also recognized Unigene's need to focus on the strength of its oral delivery platform and cleanly exit the collaboration we began several years ago."

Moving on

Murphy now plans to move the SDBG system into a proof of concept study in a target population.

The company will investigate the effects of bone compatible cements in combination with a bone anabolic agent on new bone growth in vertebral body adjacent to a vertebra undergoing vertebroplasty.

Of new partnerships, he added: "Once the relevance and superiority of this approach is established, our intent is to identify and license potential partners within the medical device space who recognize how important the addition of a biologic is to the surgical outcome."

Financial gain

For Unigene, ​the shedding of its excess weight could also result in a financial gain, according to Mayes.

He added: “With more than seven per cent royalties and 40 per cent of any licensing or sales proceeds, Unigene will more than recoup what it has invested in the SDBG program to date and should ultimately secure a satisfactory return on its investment.”

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