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Foundation Venture Capital Group Sells Interest in Longevica Pharmaceuticals

Wednesday, July 28, 2010 Drug News J E 4
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NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J., July 27 James M. Golubieski, president of Foundation Venture Capital Group, LLC, (FVCG) a New Jersey Health Foundation/Foundation of UMDNJ affiliate, announced today that it has sold its equity interest in Longevica Pharmaceuticals, Inc., to Rostock International Ltd.

Longevica, a Princeton, NJ, based company, is involved in developing kinase inhibitors that may keep normal cells healthy during chemotherapy or radiation treatments. Rostock International is a subsidiary of Rostock Group, a Moscow (Russia) headquartered global investment firm focused on investments in breakthrough technologies that can radically increase human lifespan and improve quality of life.

"One of the exit strategies of FVCG is to sell our shares in the company in which we have invested to a corporation or other venture capital group that would provide resources to advance research," Mr. Golubieski explained. "Rostock has the ability to commit and invest additional capital to support Longevica research that can take several million dollars to perform the necessary pharmacological and toxicity studies necessary to file an Investigational New Drug Application with the FDA."

The sale to Rostock International, Ltd, represents a substantial return on investment in less than 18 months, demonstrating the value of forming and developing companies around the scientific activities of researchers at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ).

"Longevica's technology of blocking apoptosis in healthy cells can be a scientific breakthrough that would have numerous applications in both the treatment and prevention of diseases. We believe it also has the potential to extend active lifespan - a perfect fit to Rostock's mission and goals," said Dmitri Khan of Rostock Group. "We look forward to helping Dr. Ryazanov advance his research further to help him commercialize the technology."

Alexey Ryazanov, PhD, founder and president of Longevica, is a professor in the Department of Pharmacology at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and is a member of The Cancer Institute of New Jersey. He explained that his company is working to develop approaches to help protect normal tissues during chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

"The work of Dr. Ryazanov and the scientists at Longevica is so exciting because currently, there is no effective therapy available," explained George F. Heinrich, MD, vice chair and CEO of Foundation Venture Capital Group. "A breakthrough in the use of this kinase could positively benefit millions of people undergoing cancer treatments. It is extremely gratifying to know that with our initial investment to launch Longevica, its research advanced to the next level of study and Rostock is now able to move this important research even further."

Longevica scientists discovered that if the EF2 kinase (a protein involved in the regulation of protein synthesis in human cells) can be rendered inactive, normal cells could be protected from dying during chemotherapy and radiation cancer treatment. Not only does this process protect normal tissues from dying, says Dr. Ryazanov, but it also renders the cancer-killing treatment more effective.

"There is amazing technology being developed by faculty members at UMDNJ and we look forward to working with many of these researchers to provide the help necessary to bring their discoveries to commercialization," Dr. Heinrich said.

About Foundation Venture Capital Group (www.foundationventure.com)

Foundation Venture Capital Group, an affiliate of New Jersey Health Foundation, was founded in 2006 to invest solely in commercially viable new start-up companies developing technology at UMDNJ. It currently has four other investments: Actinobac Biomed Inc., developing a therapeutic agent targeting blood cells for the treatment of hematological malignancies; CellXplore, Inc., engaged in the development of biomarker-based in vitro diagnostic assays for cancer; Durin Technologies, a start-up developing a blood test to determine risk and diagnose Alzheimer's disease and Snowdon Pharmaceuticals, a drug discovery company focused on several major therapeutic areas.

About the Rostock Group (www.grostock.com)

The Rosto?k Group, established in March 2009, is committed to developing projects that are significant for the society in general. Its mission is to improve future of the humankind, including extending the active lifespan, curing currently incurable diseases, creating an ecological and energy-efficient environment, and eliminating threats to the humankind.

Leading Rostock's projects are: Genomica Center, developing molecules that can block genes responsible for the increased risk of Alzheimer's disease; Skulachev's Ions, developing medicines for a wide variety of age-related diseases; and Screening Initiative focused on identifying compounds with the potential to significantly increase active lifespan.

SOURCE Foundation Venture Capital Group, LLC
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