Degussa Food Ingredients and Thuris Commence Collaboration to Develop Bioactives Relevant to Mental Performance

IRVINE, Calif., Aug. 18 -- Degussa Food Ingredients, a leading supplier in the food arena, and Thuris, a leading integrated biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of neurogerontological and neuroprotective drugs, today announced a collaboration aimed at determining sites of action of certain brain active compounds.

Under the agreement, Thuris will test compounds from Degussa Food Ingredients in proprietary BrainPrint and behavioral assays. Specific terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

"Degussa Food Ingredients runs a considerable business in the area of bioactives for Dietary Supplements and Functional Foods," said Hans-Ullrich Hoppe, Vice President Research, Degussa Food Ingredients. "An important product line in our portfolio consists of products to improve mental fitness and stability. Efficacy and mode of action are the most important descriptors for bioactive compounds. We use that information to select the best candidates out of our pool of lead compounds. With Thuris we have identified a very competent partner to improve in the field of brain activity and we are looking forward to a fruitful cooperation."

"Degussa Food Ingredients has compounds and extracts that hold promise as central nervous system bioactives. Thuris intends to determine site- and mechanism-of-action of their compounds via proprietary anatomical and behavioral analysis," said Keith B. Hoffman, Ph.D., Chief Operating Officer of Thuris. "If the results are encouraging the two companies intend to unite Degussa Food Ingredients advanced capabilities in the nutraceutical field with the full suite of Thuris development technologies. Such a collaboration could span multiple central nervous system applications, ranging from weight control to sexual dysfunction."

Thuris' BrainPrint(TM) technology is a proprietary technology for evaluating where brain therapeutics act in the living rodent. The technique allows for activity mapping down to the level of individual neurons. The methods can greatly assist drug selection and development by: i) demonstrating sites of action of compounds -- and thereby suggest mechanism of action; ii) enabling new-use and/or dosing patents; iii) identifying active metabolites and; iv) identifying commonalities and differences between analogous compounds, etc.

Thuris' behavioral assays include proprietary measures via a computerized and closely controlled system. The technology offers objective measures of animal behavior in response to centrally-active compounds, and has been shown to differentiate closely-related compounds across drug classes.

Degussa Food Ingredients with its three Business Lines Flavors & Fruit Systems, BioActives and Texturant Systems is one of the leading food and nutrition ingredients suppliers worldwide. It provides all major segments of the food, beverages and pharmaceutical industry with specialized individual ingredients and custom-developed solutions for making and keeping food fresh, tasty, healthy and safe. Thanks to its worldwide application service centers, sales organization and production network, it is active both internationally and locally. For further information please visit

Degussa Food Ingredients is a business unit of Degussa, a multinational corporation consistently aligned to highly profitable specialty chemistry. With sales of 11.8 billion Euro and a workforce of some 48,000, it is Germany's third-largest chemical company and the world market leader in specialty chemicals. In fiscal 2002 the corporation generated operating profits (EBIT) of more than 900 million Euro. Degussa's core strength lies in highly-effective system solutions that are tailored to the requirements of its customers in over 100 countries throughout the world. Degussa's activities are led by the vision "Everybody benefits from a Degussa product -- every day and everywhere."

Thuris is an integrated biopharmaceutical company that has developed animal models that recreate the hallmarks (including neurofibrillary tangles and amyloid toxicity) of Alzheimer's Disease in just six days -- a significant leap forward for neuroprotective drug development.

These advances have enabled Thuris to focus on developing mechanism-based compounds to treat Alzheimer's Disease and related neurodegenerative disorders. Thuris intends, through its co-development partnerships, as well as with its own in-house drug leads, to forward multiple therapeutics for the treatment of Alzheimer's Disease and related disorders to the clinic. Thuris is engaged in a drug co-development project with Cephalon (USA; and has collaborations with Sigma-Tau Pharmaceuticals (Italy;, PRAECIS Pharmaceuticals (USA;, D- Pharm (Israel;, the Chinese National Center for Drug Screening, SiniWest China, and Degussa BioActives (Germany; www.degussa- Thuris has other drug development projects in negotiation, and is actively seeking additional partnerships.

The company is also developing a non-invasive medical device that will assist in the diagnosis of psychiatric and neurological disorders over a broad range of brain-related conditions. 510k marketing clearance has been received from FDA for the device as an aid in the diagnosis of Central Nervous System disorders. Partners include RGM Electronics (Italy). Clinical trials are ongoing.

For further information please contact: Daniela Doring, Head of Communication of Degussa Food Ingredients GmbH, +49-8161-548-150, or fax, +49-8161-548-580, [email protected]; or Keith B. Hoffman, Ph.D., COO of Thuris, +1-949-417-4623, [email protected].

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