Founded in 2007, Alizé Pharma is a group of privately held biopharmaceutical companies specialized in the development of innovative biopharmaceutical drugs, proteins and peptides, for the treatment of metabolic diseases and rare diseases. It is based in Ecully, near Lyon, France. Its management is made up of a team of drug development experts and a board of directors offering wide international experience.
The group acquires R&D programs from public or private laboratories, following strict selection criteria, with particular interest in medical needs and innovation. Alizé Pharma operates preclinical and clinical development, then establishing partnerships with the pharmaceutical industry via co-development or out-licensing agreements, in order to secure both near-term and long-term revenue streams. Alizé Pharma considers its most important value add to be the expertise of its team who is highly experienced in drug development and able to bring many years of successful experience in this field.
The group has raised EUR 8.3 million from private and institutional investors since its inception. Participating investors in the financing rounds completed so far include:
OCTALFA, a Lyon-based independent investment company specializing in life sciences;
CEMA Inc., a Canadian independent investment company;
Sham, a Lyon-based insurance company specialized in medical malpractice liability insurance.
The first of the two entities of the Group, Alizé Pharma SAS, is dedicated to the UAG (UnAcylated Ghrelin) program. It aims at developing AZP-531, a peptide analog of UAG, a first product of a new therapeutic class for the treatment of metabolic disorders including Type 2 diabetes and the Prader Willi Syndrome. It has been conducted in close collaboration with Prs. AJ van der Lely, Erasmus Medical Center (Rotterdam) and Ezio Ghigo, University of Turin, two leading European endocrinologists. Available preclinical and clinical data suggest that UAG and its analogs have the potential to fulfill unsatisfied medical needs in Type 2 diabetes and the Prader Willi syndrome, through a novel mechanism of action that includes: marked decrease in circulating levels of acylated ghrelin, a known orexigenic and diabetogenic hormone; improved glucose control; insulin-sensitizing actions; trophic effect on beta cells; reduction in fat mass deposition; and positive impact on vascular remodeling and on recovery following ischemia. AZP-531, a stabilized UAG analog with improved pharmacokinetic properties, was designed and is currently undergoing preclinical development. Five families of patents comprising a total of 34 granted patents and patent applications protect UAG and its analogues, including AZP-531.
The second program, named ASPAREC®, is being developed within Alizé Pharma II SAS, the second entity of the Group. ASPAREC is a proprietary PEGylated recombinant Erwinia chrysantemi-derived L-asparaginase that has significant potential to become a key product as a treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in patients with hypersensitivity to E. coli-derived L-asparaginase. Preclinical data indicate that ASPAREC is both longer acting and less immunogenic than the currently available Erwinia chrysanthemi derived L-asparaginase product. ASPAREC is currently in Phase I development and partnered with EUSA Pharma (now Jazz Pharmaceuticals). It is protected by a patent filed internationally, and by orphan drug designations granted both in the US and Europe.