Two Korean companies, SK Biopharmaceuticals and AriBio, are now in a collaboration agreement for SK Biopharmaceuticals’ new small molecule SKL-G, which is being developed for the treatment of glaucoma. SK Biopharmaceuticals—a pharma firm spun out in April 2011 from SK Holdings, the third-largest conglomerate in South Korea—has been evaluating SKL-G's potential in animal models with emerging biotech AriBio since 2012. According to the firms, animal experiments have shown that SKL-G prevents optic nerve cell death and lowers intraocular pressure, one of the major causes of glaucoma.
SK Biopharmaceuticals and AriBio have agreed to complete preclinical development shortly, and to then initiate clinical trials following an Investigational New Drug application to FDA. They are also considering various options for partnering and commercialization.
"While focused on the disorders and mechanisms of the nervous system, the powerful SK Biopharmaceuticals Third Wave discovery platform creates compounds that are also relevant to diseases in other body systems, in this case, the eye," said Christopher Gallen, M.D., Ph.D., president and CEO of SK Biopharmaceuticals. "Through this agreement, both companies can realize a creative drug development process by sharing R&D capabilities, know-how, and experiences."
In April, SK Biopharmaceuticals also made a co-development agreement with SK Chemicals for YKP10811, the former firm's small molecule being developed for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome with constipation. And in March, SK Biopharmaceuticals entered into a collaboration agreement with PKU International HealthCare Group and Shanghai Medicilon, both in China, for its small molecule SKL-PSY, which is being developed for the treatment of depression and bipolar disorder.