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Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated

Drug Names(s): VX-740, HMR3480

Description: Pralnacasan is an orally available inhibitor of interleukin-1 beta (IL-1 beta) converting enzyme (also known as ICE or caspase-1). In 1994, Vertex researchers described the 3-dimensional atomic structure of ICE in the journal Nature. In 1995, in conjunction with academic collaborators, Vertex reported the initial ICE gene knockout mouse in Science, the findings of which confirmed ICE as a key control point in mediating inflammation. ICE regulates production of IL-1 and gamma-interferon, both of which are prime intercellular inflammatory mediators. Using its structural genomics platform, Vertex developed the ICE inhibitor pralnacasan as a lead candidate in 1996.

Deal Structure: Aventis originally agreed to pay up to $206 million and 100% of the development costs of Pralnacasan.

In Feb. 2005 Vertex announced that Sanofi-Aventis discontinued its agreement on Pralnacasan. All worldwide rights will now revert back to Vertex.

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