KAI Pharmaceuticals Acquires Progen Patents

Dow Jones VentureWire

KAI Pharmaceuticals Acquires Progen Patents

KAI Pharmaceuticals Inc. has purchased a collection of patents from publicly traded Progen Pharmaceuticals Ltd. related to the delivery of KAI’s peptide therapeutics. / The issued and pending patents claim compositions and methods related to transporter molecules that can deliver compounds, including peptides such as those being developed by KAI, across biological membranes and into cells.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

KAI, based in South San Francisco, Calif., said it has several clinical-stage programs focused on cardiovascular disease and pain. Its lead candidate, KAI-9803, is in a Phase IIb study designed to assess its efficacy on reducing myocardial injury in heart attack patients. KAI said a second clinical program, KAI-1678, now in multiple Phase IIa studies, has the potential to address both the inflammatory and neuropathic pain markets.

KAI has raised more than $63 million from investors since 2003, VentureWire records show. Investors include Aberdare Ventures, Delphi Ventures, Intersouth Partners, InterWest Partners, Investor Growth Capital, MDS Capital, Skyline Ventures and Thomas Weisel Partners.

Progen’s stock, traded on the Nasdaq, has fallen steadily since a peak of $7.64 in April 2007, and has sat below $1 for nearly a year. It closed Tuesday at 55 cents a share, unchanged from the previous day.

The patent sale is the latest in a string of troubled public companies divesting certain assets to venture-backed start-ups in recent months. Other health care start-ups acquiring parts of their larger peers include Aushon BioSystems Inc., Forma Therapeutics Inc. and Navigenics Inc.