PARIS ¿ NicOx SA signed a research and co-development agreement with the Swedish company Biolipox covering a new class of nitric oxide-releasing drugs for the treatment of respiratory diseases.

The agreement provides for NicOx, of Sophia-Antipolis, France, to synthesize a series of NO-releasing compounds for preclinical evaluation by Stockholm-based Biolipox, which focuses on characterization of the mechanisms of airway diseases and the screening of compounds for treating them.

Compounds that successfully complete the preclinical phase will be taken into clinical development by the two companies, which would take them as far as Phase IIa trials. The partners would share revenues from the future commercialization of the products by third parties.

On another front, NicOx reported positive results from Phase I clinical trials of NCX 701, a nitric oxide-releasing derivative of paracetamol (acetaminophen in the U.S.) it is developing for the treatment of pain and fever. The trial took place in France and tested five dose levels of an oral formulation on 16 healthy male volunteers.

This was the first administration into man of NCX 701, which is one of three compounds NicOx took into clinical development in December. The others were NCX 1015, an NO-releasing prednisolone derivative for inflammatory bowel disease, and NCX 1022, an NO-releasing hydrocortisone derivative for treating psoriasis.

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