Hadasit Bio-Holdings

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ProtAb, a Wholly Owned Subsidiary of Hadasit Bio-Holdings, Attracts Funding and Initiates the Manufacturing Process of its Lead Antibody in Preparation for Clinical Trials

Dec. 6, 2009

Jerusalem, Israel, December 6, 2009. Hadasit Bio-Holdings, Ltd. (HBL; TASE symbol: HDST), announced today that ProtAb, its wholly owned portfolio company, has initiated the manufacturing process of its lead antibody in preparation for clinical trials in patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis.

In addition, the company has expanded its pre-clinical experimentation of the antibody and evaluated its activity in an animal model of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Initial assessment of efficacy showed that the antibody significantly suppresses the disease and specifically reduces the inflammatory response in the colon.

Inflammatory Bowel Diseases are a group of chronic ailments of the digestive system, including Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis. These diseases are widespread, such that the global market for drugs to treat them is estimated at $2 billion. Because the antibody’s mode of action involves stimulation of anti-inflammatory signals, it has potential for the use in treatment of a broad range of autoimmune disorders.

Based on this significant progress, ProtAb has filed for a patent covering its lead antibody, which has completed the humanization stage and is now at the forefront of ProtAb’s development efforts. The patent application specifically covers various sequences of the humanized version of the antibody and their use in the treatment of patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease and autoimmune diseases in general. This application strengthens and expands the company’s intellectual property, and protects commercial uses of the product which will be evaluated in clinical trials.

HBL has recently transferred NIS 1.1 million to fund the initiation of the manufacturing process of the company’s lead antibody. The company has also applied for a grant from the National Institutes of Health in the United States, which has an annual grants budget exceeding 30 billion US dollars.

ProtAb is also conducting advanced negotiations with potential investors, including venture-capital funds and international pharmaceutical companies, regarding a direct investment in the company.

Shira Yair, ProtAb's CEO, notes that “there has been significant progress in the development of the company’s lead antibody, both on the animal model front and with regard to the development of manufacturing processes of the antibody towards clinical investigation. In addition, the company is investing major efforts in protecting its intellectual property and in establishing its own independent infrastructure in the Biotechnology Park at the Hadassah Medical Center in Ein Karem. I am excited to be part of leading these developments on the pathway towards clinical application of our lead antibody and hopeful of achieving business collaborations in the near future.”

Ophir Shahaf, HBL’s CEO, added that “ProtAb is one of HBL’s leading portfolio companies. It is based on research conducted in the laboratories of Prof. Yaakov Naparstek, Chairman of Internal Medicine at Hadassah University Hospital, and represents world-class scientific excellence. The present funding from HBL, the Office of the Chief Scientist, research foundations, and other investors aims at guaranteeing that the company will advance to clinical trials in patients and further commercialization of the drug through strategic partners in the pharmaceutical industry.”

About Hadasit Bio-Holdings

Hadasit Bio-Holdings (HDST) was established by Hadasit (the technology-transfer company of the Hadassah–Hebrew University Medical Center) in 2005 to exploit the knowledge and experience accumulated by the institution’s research laboratories. Hadasit Bio-Holdings currently includes eight biotechnology companies, all of which have already demonstrated the feasibility of their concepts and effectiveness of their drugs in animal models and are prior to the initiation of human clinical trials. The HBL portfolio companies are developing drugs with blockbuster potential (markets that exceed one billion US dollars annually) for the treatment of cancer, inflammatory diseases, and tissue regeneration by means of stem cells—areas in which the Hadassah Medical Center has vast expertise and a reputation as a world leader. For more information, please visit our website: www.hbl.co.il.


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