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Zocere inks licensing pact with STC.UNM for neuroprotectant therapy to treat stroke, neurological disorders

Albuquerque, New Mexico
Wednesday, March 12, 2014, 18:00 Hrs  [IST]

Zocere, Inc., a New Mexico-based pharmaceutical company, has signed a licensing agreement for a novel neuroprotectant treatment for ischemic stroke and other neurological disorders from STC.UNM, the University of New Mexico’s technology transfer and economic development organization.

Currently, there are few treatment options for blood clot-induced ischemic stroke, which accounts for 87 per cent of strokes. Those on the market are little used and have risks associated with their use. Zocere’s newly licensed STEP protein, a biologic that is a cell-permeable, recombinant peptide, shows promise as a potent “brain saving” drug when administered post stroke.

Commenting on the agreement, Zocere CEO Wayne Laslie said, “The demand for injectable drugs to stop the progression of brain damage and death is high because there is no other option for a neuroprotectant therapy for stroke or one that halts its devastating effects. Many lives are cut short or forever altered due to this lack of effective treatment. We are pleased to have licensed this technology from STC.UNM as it has the potential to save lives, reduce long-term disability, and decrease the cost of care and rehabilitation.”

STC.UNM CEO Lisa Kuuttila added that the University of New Mexico is very pleased Zocere has licensed the STEP peptide technology developed by faculty member Dr Surojit Paul. “Dr Paul has dedicated more than 12 years of research toward this effort. Because of his meticulous work, Zocere is licensing a drug with a well-founded scientific basis and novel mechanism action, giving them a unique opportunity to bring a potentially game-changing drug to market and give new hope to stroke patients.”

Zocere has assembled a team of pharmaceutical professionals with deep experience in drug commercialization. The company is focused on identifying a clinical partner to assist with bringing the drug to market. Because of the drug’s novel formulation and results of preliminary animal studies, Zocere is confident of attracting a pharmaceutical company interested in meeting a significant unmet medical need with the drug.

Stroke is a leading cause of death in the United States, claiming 130,000 lives each year. In 2010, the cost of stroke-related health care, medications, and missed work to the US economy was $73.7 billion. Stroke is also the leading cause of long-term disability. African-Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans are disproportionately affected by stroke.

Headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Zocere is a startup pharmaceutical company developing injectable neuroprotectant drugs intended to combat stroke and other neurological trauma.

As the technology transfer and economic development arm of the University of New Mexico, STC.UNM protects and commercializes technologies developed at UNM by filing patents and copyrights and transferring the technologies to the marketplace.


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