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28 January 2021Big PharmaMuireann Bolger

Quercis licenses patents for thromboembolism platform

Biopharmaceutical company, Quercis Pharma, has exclusively licensed two patents to enhance its ability to provide approved treatments for COVID-19 and cancer.

The Swiss company has entered into an agreement with the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), a teaching hospital affiliated with Harvard Medical School.

The agreement announced on January 25, will see the Swiss company adding the patents to its thromboembolism portfolio.

“Gaining the exclusive license to these patents is important to Quercis, not only because it expands the patent estate for our lead drug candidate from 2031 to 2039 in venous thromboembolism (VTE), but also as it relates to the role P-selectin plays in the cascade of events that leads to Acute Respiratory Disease Syndrome (ARDS) in COVID-19 patients,” said Stefan Wohlfeil, managing director and chief medical officer of Quercis Pharma.

Terms of the agreement have not been disclosed.

The patents cover the inhibition of soluble P-selectin that helps to prevent and/or reduce thrombotic events.

The patents also relate to the transport of cancer cells in the bloodstream and may be in prevent or reduce cancer tumour metastasis, the process by which cancer cells migrate throughout the body.

The majority of deaths (around 90%) associated with cancer are due to the metastasis of the original tumour cells to sites distant from the initial or primary tumour, said Quercis.

Wohlfeil said: "We are delighted to be collaborating with the world-renowned researchers at BIDMC, as their cutting-edge research and development work is crucial in bringing potentially life-saving medicines to patients in need of new treatment options."

He continued: “Gaining exclusive access to these BIDMC patents will significantly strengthen the mechanistic claims for Quercis’ drug candidate in a variety of clinical indications of unmet need, such as VTE, COVID-19, sickle cell disease and Ebola, among others.”

Quercis plans to initiate two Phase 3 clinical trials for the prevention of VTE in pancreatic cancer and glioblastoma patients in the first half of 2021, and will pursue US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for the prevention of VTE in all cancer types based on these two studies.

According to Quercis, its class of antithrombotic drugs are also promising candidates to prevent and treat the clinical manifestations of ARDS associated with COVID-19.

“Quercis is working with a number of global healthcare providers to accelerate Phase 2/3 clinical studies to confirm these hypotheses. The studies aim to bring effective prophylactic and treatment options to patients in this global pandemic disease, which has resulted in significant loss of life in the past year,” said the company.

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