Immtech Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (IMM) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) declaring its interest in developing a strategic alliance with Beijing Pharmaceutical Group Co. Ltd. (BPGC). The MOU also confirms BPGC’s intention to consider a range of collaborative opportunities with Immtech. The alliance would give BPGC rights to develop drugs from Immtech’s library of compounds, which primarily target hepatitis C and malaria. No financial disclosures were made at this early stage.
An alliance with Immtech would also give BPGC access to Immtech's network of international relationships as well as its sales and distribution channels in the US, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe.
Immtech’s hepatitis C vaccine has shown promise in the lab, but it has not yet begun clinical trials. It belongs to a class of compounds that has previously demonstrated activity against a related surrogate virus, bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV).
Immtech has been in trouble financially since late 2007 when its lead drug candidate, pafuramidine, a treatment for AIDS-related pneumonia and African sleeping sickness, was withdrawn from clinical trials following worries concerns about side effects. An arm of the pafuramidine trial was conducted in China.
In June 2008, Immtech signed a MOU with Beijing Capital Medical University (BCMU) to establish a joint venture that would provide contract research services in China. Initially, the focus of the JV was on research planning and risk assessment through the preclinical and clinical study design phases. Eventually, the plan was to expand the enterprise into later-stage clinical development including coordination with research sites, data management, monitoring and reporting for clinical research programs.
BPGC, one of the largest state-owned pharmaceutical and medical device conglomerates in China, sells Chinese and western medicines, bio-medicines, health products, pharmaceutical raw materials, medical equipment, and medicine manufacturing equipment. It produced revenues of over $2 billion in 2008. The company said it is currently evaluating Immtech’s assets.