Baxter Ventures, Mayo Clinic and Velocity Pharmaceutical Development Announce the Formation of Vitesse Biologics, LLC, A Company Structured to Accelerate Therapeutic Innovation


Vitesse formed to identify and advance early stage biologic research in immunology, hematology and oncology.


Deerfield, IL., Rochester, MN and South San Francisco, CA. June 1, 2015 - Baxter Ventures, the venture arm of Baxter International Inc. (NYSE:BAX), the Mayo Clinic and Velocity Pharmaceutical Development, LLC ("VPD") today 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 hematology, 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.

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