Pfizer initiates purchase of CovX

NEW YORK Pfizer has bought the privately owned biotech company CovX, which specializes in combining the strengths of peptides and antibodies into new drugs, according to published reports.

An antibody discovery made at The Scripps Research Institute was the main reason for the acquisition. As licensor of the technology, Scripps Research will receive a percentage of the proceeds from the sale, as well as royalties from any resulting therapies.

When the deal is completed early next year, CovX will operate as a division of Pfizer’s new Biotherapeutic and Bioinnovation Center. Pfizer bought the company as part of a trend of big pharma companies buying biotech companies to bolster their own pipelines.

The biotech firm has three early-stage compounds, one for diabetes and two for cancer. Their most advanced drug candidate is CVX-045, which began Phase I trials in cancer patients back in February 2007. By slowing down blood vessel growth, it is hoped CVX-045 could starve a tumor of oxygen and nutrients and therefore slow down its growth.

CovX's second potential cancer drug is CVX-060, which binds to Angiopoietin-2 and also stalls blood vessel growth. A Phase I trial of this drug was approved in October. The firm's diabetes drug is called CVX-096 and a Phase I trial is expected in the second half of 2008.

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