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New Zealand Pharmaceuticals assigns to Altamira Bio

Dextra's partner, New Zealand Pharmaceuticals assigns to Altamira Bio its assets related to the development of N-acetyl-D-mannosamine (ManNAc) for the treatment of the rare genetic disorder, GNE myopathy, and various kidney diseases.

Palmerston North – July 17, 2015 – Dextra's partner, New Zealand Pharmaceuticals Ltd (NZP) has transferred its Patent License and related Agreements with the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the development of oral N-acetyl-D-mannosamine (DEX-M74, ManNAc) to U.S.-based Altamira Bio, Inc., a subsidiary of Fortress Biotech, Inc. (NASDAQ: FBIO).  NZP will receive milestone payments and royalties from Altamira Bio as the development program for DEX-M74 evolves.

ManNAc is a key compound in the sialic acid biosynthetic pathway and has the potential to treat a group of pathologies associated with hyposialylation of tissues including GNE myopathy, formerly known as Hereditary Inclusion Body Myopathy (HIBM) and various nephropathies.

NZP, which manufactures the DEX-M74 grade of ManNAc will remain the exclusive global supplier of DEX-M74 ManNAc to Altamira Bio.

NZP collaborated with researchers from the NIH’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences and National Human Genome Research Institute to preclinically develop DEX-M74. DEX-M74 is now being evaluated as a treatment for GNE myopathy in a phase II clinical trial at NIH.

“NZP is very pleased that the further development of DEX-M74 as a potential therapy for GNE myopathy and other diseases of hyposialylation will be undertaken by Altamira Bio. We are confident that Altamira has the capabilities and experience to rapidly develop DEX-M74 to provide solutions to treat sialylation disorders with unmet medical needs,” said Mr. Andy Lewis, CEO of NZP. “GNE myopathy is a severe debilitating muscle wasting disease and we are very grateful for the ongoing work conducted by the NIH scientists and physicians. This team has produced very compelling data on how ManNAc administration could supplement the genetic insufficiency to help these patients normalise their protein and complex lipid sialylation and retain their muscle strength. We are also encouraged by recent discoveries indicating the probable involvement of hyposialylation in kidney diseases and we are very pleased that Altamira and the NIH team will soon be testing DEX-M74 in patients with nephropathies in anticipation of maintaining or improving their kidney function.”

Destum Partners, Inc., acted as NZP’s transaction advisor, throughout the process.