Start-Up Previews (5/07)
A preview of the emerging health care companies profiled in the current issue of Start-Up. This month's profile group: In Inflammation, the Indication's the Thing, features profiles of Anthera Pharmaceuticals, Logical Therapeutics, Opsona Therapeutics and VLST Corp.. Plus these Start-Ups Across Health Care: Biodesy, Magenta Medical and NuLens.
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The gastrointestinal problems linked to NSAIDS are certainly no secret: the ability to mitigate them turned Vioxx into a blockbuster drug, that is, until it was pulled from the market because of cardiovascular problems. Now, Logical Therapeutics in-licensed rights to a pro-drug of naproxen that it thinks will have the GI-safety profile of Vioxx and the cardiovascular safety profile of naproxen.
Opsona Therapeutics is focusing on Toll-like receptors, which control the activity of regulatory T cells, signaling the presence of infection and triggering the inflammatory immune response. The company will identify key preclinical candidates (either in-house or licensed-in) and take them to development points of value before partnering. The Trinity College spin-out has struck its first two deals: with Wyeth Pharmaceuticals and with Phylogica.
VLST is developing a platform around the identification and understanding of the function of virulence factors, a set of proteins in viruses that down regulate the host's immune response, thereby conferring a survival advantage. Understanding this evolutionary process can lead to the identification of a group of clinically relevant cellular targets, as the predicate for the development of therapeutics.