Eyepoint Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Watertown, Mass., and Ocumension Therapeutics Ltd., of Shanghai, announced an exclusive license agreement for the development and commercialization of Dexycu (dexamethasone intraocular suspension) 9% to treat postoperative inflammation following ocular surgery in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. Dexycu is currently marketed by Eyepoint in the U.S. Eyepoint maintains worldwide development and commercialization rights outside of the territories licensed to Ocumension. Under the terms of the deal, Eyepoint will receive an up-front payment of $2 million and royalties on product sales by Ocumension. Eyepoint is eligible to receive up to an additional $12 million if certain future prespecified development, regulatory and commercial sales milestones are achieved by Ocumension. In exchange, Ocumension will receive exclusive rights to develop and commercialize the product in the agreed upon territories. Eyepoint will also be the exclusive supplier of Dexycu to Ocumension for clinical use and commercial sale.
Geovax Labs Inc., of Atlanta, said it signed a letter of intent with Bravovax Co. Ltd., of Wuhan, China, to jointly develop a vaccine against the new coronavirus (known as 2019-nCoV). Under the terms, Geovax will use its MVA-VLP vaccine platform and expertise to design and construct the vaccine candidate using genetic sequences from the ongoing coronavirus outbreak originating in Wuhan. Bravovax will provide further development, including testing and manufacturing support, as well as direct interactions with Chinese public health and regulatory authorities.
Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Plymouth Meeting, Pa., said the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) has awarded Inovio a grant of up to $9 million to develop a vaccine against the recently emerged strain of coronavirus (2019-nCoV) that has killed numerous people and infected hundreds more in China. The initial CEPI funding will support Inovio's preclinical and clinical development through phase I testing of INO-4800, its new coronavirus vaccine matched to the outbreak strain. CEPI previously awarded Inovio a grant of up to $56 million for the development of vaccines against Lassa fever and Middle East respiratory syndrome, also caused by a coronavirus.
Ningbo Newbay Medical Technology Co. Ltd., of Ningbo, China, a subsidiary of Ningbo Tai Kang Medical Technology Co. Ltd., said it entered a licensing agreement with Genentech, of South San Francisco, a member of the Roche Group, under which it was granted exclusive global rights to further develop and commercialize GDC-0570, a small-molecule Pan-PIM inhibitor that is active against multiple myeloma and prostate cancer in preclinical models. Under the terms, Genentech will receive an up-front payment and will be eligible to receive milestone payments linked to clinical, regulatory and commercial successes, as well as royalty payments.
Onconova Therapeutics Inc., of Newtown, Pa., regained the rights to rigosertib in greater China. Onconova regained the rights from Hanx Biopharmaceuticals Inc., of Wuhan, China, as a result of the termination of the Onconova-Hanx license agreement pursuant to its terms due to Hanx failing to make required payments under the agreement. In exchange for transition assistance and upon further regulatory, development and commercial progress in greater China, Hanx may be eligible to receive from Onconova incentive milestones and royalty payments.
Paion AG, of Aachen, Germany, is due milestone payments of between €1.5 million (US$1.7 million) and €2.5 million from Mundipharma International Ltd., of Cambridge, U.K., triggered by Japanese regulators’ approval of Anerem (remimazolam) for use in general anesthesia.
Phoremost Ltd., of Cambridge, U.K., said it entered a multiproject collaboration with Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., of Tokyo, in which the former will deploy its in-house expertise and next-generation phenotypic screening platform, Siteseeker, toward disease-relevant pathways nominated by Otsuka. Novel targets identified will be further validated and characterized by Otsuka as part of its internal development pipeline, with an initial focus on gene therapy applications of identified targets. Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.
Pieris Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Boston, disclosed in an 8-K filing posted late Jan. 24 that Aska Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., of Tokyo, said it does not intend to exercise its option to obtain an exclusive license to develop and commercialize PRS-080, a candidate targeting hepcidin, in Japan and certain other Asian markets territories under the Feb. 27, 2017, option agreement. Aska’s decision was based on a strategic portfolio review as well as certain commercial considerations. In view of Pieris’ strategic focus in immuno-oncology and respiratory diseases, including the continued development of PRS-343, PRS-344 and PRS-060, the company said it does not intend to continue the development of PRS-080.
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network Oncology Research Program disclosed plans to evaluate futibatinib (TAS-120), an inhibitor of the fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR), from Taiho Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., of Tokyo, The project will include preclinical, translational and clinical trials using futibatinib as a monotherapy and in biologically relevant combination regimens for malignancies with FGFR 1-4 aberrations. The project will be the first of the network’s research programs to study an FGFR inhibitor. Specific research areas will be determined by a group of cancer research experts from member institutions who form a request for proposals development team. The research funding is supported by a $2 million grant from Taiho.
Tilt Biotherapeutics Ltd., of Helsinki, said it signed a license agreement with Biotheus Inc., of Guangdong, China, under which it granted Biotheus rights for development and commercialization of oncolytic virus TILT-123 in greater China (including Mainland China, Hongkong, Taiwan and Macau). The license agreement includes an up-front payment as well as milestone payments linked to finishing of various phases of clinical development and obtaining marketing approvals. Under the agreement, Tilt is eligible to receive up-front and milestone payments as well as significant royalties on future sales.
Veloxis Pharmaceutical A/S, of Copenhagen, which is being acquired by Asahi Kasei Pharma Denmark A/S, part of Tokyo-based Asahi Kasei Corp., decided to request Nasdaq Copenhagen to remove trading and listing of the company’s shares. The last trading day is expected to be Feb. 24. The firms agreed in November to the $1.3 billion takeover by Asahi Kasei, which gets control of Envarsus XR, an improved formulation of tacrolimus for prophylaxis of organ rejection in kidney transplant patients converted from tacrolimus and for use in de novo transplant patients.