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Thursday, May 03, 2012

Biotechnology milestone as Israeli drug gains FDA approval

From Bloomberg:
Protalix BioTherapeutics Inc. (PLX) soared in Tel Aviv trading after the biopharmaceutical company’s first product won approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Protalix surged 14 percent to 29.14 shekels at the 4:30 p.m. close in Tel Aviv. The stock gained 13 percent in New York trading, the biggest single-day advance in more than six months. The company developed the drug, Elelyso, with Pfizer Inc. (PFE) to treat the most common form of Gaucher disease, a rare genetic disorder.

The approval may help Protalix cement agreements with drugmakers for its medicines in development, Chief Executive Officer David Aviezer said.

“This is a validation of our technology,” Aviezer said in an interview in Tel Aviv. “The approval could be a harbinger for additional agreements with other companies for some of our other drugs in the near future.”

Elelyso is based on breakthrough research by Dr. Yoseph Shaaltiel, the company's chief scientist. He generated medicinal proteins from genetically modified carrot cells, rather than the more expensive and bacterial-infection prone mammalian cells generally used for biotech drugs.

Pfizer, the world’s largest drugmaker, paid Protalix $60 million for an exclusive agreement to sell the drug globally except for in Israel, according to the company’s annual report. Pfizer also agreed to pay Protalix $55 million for meeting certain regulatory requirements. The U.S. company will get 60 percent of Elelyso sales while Protalix will keep 40 percent.

Gaucher disease can cause fat to build up in the liver, spleen, bone marrow and nervous system. About 1 in 14 individuals of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry carries the mutated gene that can cause the illness, and as many as 1 in 500 present a form of the disorder.
This time those Zionists are selfish. Gaucher disease mostly affects Jews.