BioWorld International Correspondent
PARIS - Hybrigenics SA acquired a license for the worldwide exclusive rights to inecalcitol, a synthetic analogue of vitamin D, under a licensing agreement signed with Theramex, the Monaco-based subsidiary of Merck KGaA, of Darmstadt, Germany, the University of Ghent and the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium.
Paris-based Hybrigenics receives rights to all clinical indications and plans to develop an oral formulation of the drug for certain cancers, such as advanced androgen-independent prostate cancer. The financial terms of the licensing agreement were not disclosed.
Hybrigenics pointed out that vitamin D analogues are known for their antiproliferative action on psoriatic skin cells and a variety of cancer cells, but that it does have the side-effect of causing hypercalcemia. Inecalcitol has the advantage of greatly reduced hypercalcemic activity, it said.
The drug was discovered by researchers at the two Belgian universities and since has been developed by Theramex as a topical treatment for psoriasis up to the Phase II stage.
Hybrigenics said development of inecalcitol for psoriasis and in other indications will continue under collaborations with third parties, while it will develop the drug for all cancer indications, including hyperparathyroidism. The company’s CEO, Remi Delansorne, said it should enable Hybrigenics to have a drug candidate in clinical development "in the near future."