Otsuka Pharmaceutical has extended its research collaboration related to ocular diseases with MethylGene for an additional six months. Otsuka will provide $625,000 to fund research until the end of March 2010. The company will also make a $1.5 million equity investment in MethylGene by the end of October. The current agreement also allows Otsuka to further prolong the collaboration beyond this initial six-month period.
The partnership, which has already resulted in lead compounds, will focus on identifying more leads and optimizing the molecules. MethylGene will continue to design, synthesize, characterize, and screen small molecule kinase inhibitors that treat ocular diseases excluding cancer. Otsuka will provide additional assistance in the scale-up of selected compounds and preclinical development in multiple in vivo settings for both efficacy and safety.
The original alliance was formed in March 2008, and MethylGene received $2 million up front. Achievement of development, regulatory, commercialization, and sales milestones would trigger $50.5 million in additional payments. Otsuka remains solely responsible for the clinical development and global commercialization and will pay MethylGene royalties.