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Baxter, Mayo Clinic & VPD form Vitesse Biologics, a company structured to accelerate therapeutic innovation

Deerfield, Illinois
Wednesday, June 3, 2015, 11:00 Hrs  [IST]

Baxter Ventures, the venture arm of Baxter International Inc., the Mayo Clinic and Velocity Pharmaceutical Development, LLC (VPD) announced the formation of Vitesse Biologics, LLC, (Vitesse).

Vitesse is a unique collaboration model initiated by Baxter Ventures to focus on the development of antibody and protein-based therapeutics in the areas of immunology, hematology, and oncology. Following the spin-off of Baxter BioScience as Baxalta Incorporated, anticipated to take place by mid-2015, the Vitesse relationship will be managed by the planned venture arm, Baxalta Ventures, for the new company.

The collaboration model, which represents a new method of drug development, was designed to incent each partner to advance promising therapies quickly through the development process. Each partner will provide its recognized expertise to enhance the target selection, target optimization, expression and product development process. Baxter BioScience will provide global commercialization, antibody and protein development and manufacturing capabilities; Mayo Clinic researchers will execute the Phase I clinical trials; VPD will be responsible for target identification, selection of early stage drug candidates and will lead the design and execution of pre-clinical and clinical protocols.

"Delivering innovative treatments to address unmet patient needs is at the very core of everything we do and drives our ongoing R&D focus," said Ludwig N. Hantson, Ph.D., president of Baxter BioScience. "By creating Vitesse, our business is executing on a new concept in early stage R&D by leveraging the expertise of industry-leading partners to accelerate the identification and development of novel biologic treatments that could eventually contribute to unmet patient needs while enhancing the Baxalta commercial portfolio."

Vitesse will develop treatments in the fields of haematology, oncology and immunology, which aligns strongly with Baxter BioScience's therapeutic focus. This innovative model enables Baxter to serve as a hands-on partner in the pursuit of innovative treatments, as Baxter BioScience will be involved in the early-stages of development for all products identified by Vitesse and has an exclusive option to acquire each such product following the completion of the applicable phase I trials.

"We are excited about the possibilities for this new collaboration, and particularly for this new model for early stage drug development," said Greg Gores, M.D., executive dean for research at Mayo Clinic. "Our goal is to identify new, useful therapeutics to address the unmet needs of our patients."

David Collier, M.D., CEO of VPD, said, "We are fortunate to have world-class partners in this project. We believe that the combination of the development and manufacturing expertise offered by Baxter BioScience and the clinical capabilities of the Mayo Clinic, working in conjunction with our team at VPD, will produce a series of very promising new therapeutics developed in a more rapid and cost-efficient manner."

With research as a key priority of the Destination Medical Center (DMC) initiative, Mayo Clinic is building upon the clinical and research infrastructure further accelerating Mayo Clinic's ability to conduct some of the most important medical research, eventually to translate these discoveries into therapies for patients from across the globe.

Vitesse Biologics, LLC, a Delaware Corporation based in South San Francisco, CA, develops antibody and protein-based therapeutics in the areas of immunology, haematology, and oncology.

Baxter International Inc., through its subsidiaries, develops, manufactures and markets products that save and sustain the lives of people with haemophilia, immune disorders, cancer, infectious diseases, kidney disease, trauma and other chronic and acute medical conditions.

Baxter BioScience is a leading provider of therapeutic treatments that save, sustain and improve the lives of people with rare conditions, chronic diseases or limited treatment options.

Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to medical research and education, and providing expert, whole-person care to everyone who needs healing.

Velocity Pharmaceutical Development, LLC (VPD) is a pharmaceutical development organization dedicated to rapidly advancing promising drug candidates to clinical proof of concept using a highly virtual management model.


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