White Plains, NY and Waltham, Mass. – The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) and Avila Therapeutics, Inc., today announced they have established a collaboration to support development of one of Avila’s lead product candidates, AVL-292, for treatment of adults with B cell cancers.
Through the partnership, LLS will provide up to $3.2 million to support Avila’s clinical development of AVL-292. Avila anticipates the drug entering clinical trials in 2010.
B cells are an important component of the body’s immune system. B cells can become cancerous, leading to diseases such as non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Approximately 85 percent of non-Hodgkin lymphomas originate from B cells. AVL-292 is a targeted covalent drug designed to bind specifically to the protein target Bruton’s Tyrosine Kinase (Btk). Btk plays a critical role in B cell development and activation, and it is believed the inhibition of Btk will provide benefits in treating B cell cancers.
Taking an active role in accelerating development of novel therapies for patients, LLS has committed substantial, multi-year funding to support this collaboration as part of its Therapy Acceleration Program (TAP). TAP is LLS’s bold initiative designed to advance therapies with high prospects of providing near-term benefit to patients suffering from blood cancers. By partnering directly with biotechnology companies, LLS is taking a results-oriented approach to more quickly identify potential breakthrough therapies and advance them along the FDA drug approval pathway.
“Avila, with its targeted covalent approach to Btk, hopes to develop, and ultimately deliver to patients, a cancer treatment with optimal efficacy and safety. We believe AVL-292 is a therapeutic candidate with significant opportunity to benefit the patients that we serve, and that Avila is an excellent partner for the LLS. Together the LLS and Avila hope to change the standard of care and improve the quality of life for patients suffering from blood cancer,”
said Louis DeGennaro, Ph.D., LLS’s chief mission officer.
“We are very honored that The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society recognizes the potential of AVL-292 and is making this substantial investment with Avila, which will significantly enhance the drug’s development,”
says Katrine Bosley, Avila’s chiefexecutive officer.
“In pursuing their mission, LLS is combining scientific advancement with connecting to doctors and patients – that ‘translational thinking’ helps companies like Avila cross the bridge from research into development much more effectively forpeople battling blood cancers.”
About The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society® (LLS) is the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and theirfamilies. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world and provides free information and support services.
Founded in 1949 and headquartered in White Plains, NY, LLS has chapters throughout the United States and Canada. To learn more, visit www.LLS.org or contact the Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9a.m. to 6 p.m. ET. www.lls.org.
About Avila Therapeutics™, Inc.
Avila focuses on design and development of targeted covalent drugs to achieve best-inclass outcomes that cannot be achieved through traditional chemistries. This approach is called “protein silencing”. The company’s product pipeline has been built using its proprietary Avilomics™ platform and is currently focused on viral infection, cancer and autoimmune disease. Avila is funded by leading venture capital firms: Abingworth, Advent Venture Partners, Atlas Venture, Novartis Option Fund, and Polaris Venture Partners.