Zydus Cadila, an innovative global pharmaceutical company, and Prolong Pharmaceuticals Inc., a US-based, venture-backed drug delivery research and development company is collaborating for the development of a next generation therapeutic protein, ‘PEG-EPO’, for the treatment of severe anemia. 

The Zydus-Prolong pact seeks to increase productivity in the drug development of this next generation therapeutic protein by leveraging the combined strengths of both companies. As per the agreement, both companies will utilize Prolong's differentiated PEGylation technology to make PEG-EPO. This joint development will help in developing an optimized drug candidate with improved therapeutic properties.  Both partners will also be equitably sharing risk and reward for this collaborative programme.

Severe Anemia, is a condition where the hemoglobin (Hb) level or number of circulating red blood cells (RBCs) is significantly reduced. This is common in chronic renal failure (CRF), cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, some chronic inflammatory diseases, heart failure, surgical settings and critically ill patients. The first generation drug, EPO, did wonders to the treatment of this condition.  However, new advances in therapy can improve EPO’s therapeutic profile, offer greater convenience, and lower treatment costs. PEG-EPO promises to be a third generation drug.  

PEGylation is the only FDA-approved protein delivery technology that transforms proteins into superior drug products, by attaching a polyethylene glycol ("PEG") polymer to a therapeutic protein. This process results in an improved product with significantly enhance potency, fewer side effects, and a reduced dosing frequency.

Zydus Cadila will leverage its expertise in carrying out a focussed drug development programme, starting from pre-clinical candidate selection, filing of the Investigational New Drug, undertaking  pre-clinical studies and human clinical trials and marketing it in mutually agreed upon territories globally. The collaborative programme will bring an edge to Zydus’ global biologics strategy with the introduction of an improved biologic product.