Unigene Laboratories acquired exclusive commercial rights from Queen Mary, University of London, to a couple of drug candidates in a deal potentially worth over $1.2 million.
The licensed programs include a potential combination therapy for inflammatory diseases such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease and a peptide for the treatment of cardiac reperfusion injury in heart attack and stroke.
Unigene gains rights to the inventions already identified and to future developments. In exchange, the company will fund research over the next three years worth approximately $400,000 per year. Unigene will also pass milestone-based fees on clinical and commercial progress and royalties on revenues earned.
The program for inflammatory diseases consists of calcitonin and glucocorticoids. This combination reportedly allows for a significant reduction in the dose of the glucocorticoid, which may decrease the severe side effects often associated with high-dose glucocorticoid therapy that currently inhibits their use for chronic treatment. Also, data from the laboratory of Mauro Perretti, Ph.D., professor of immunopharmacology at Queen Mary School of Medicine and Dentistry, suggests that glucocorticoids may improve the long-term efficacy of calcitonin.
"The development of this therapy should be expedited since both components of the combination are previously approved, well-established drugs and because Unigene has considerable expertise in the recombinant production, oral delivery, and clinical development of calcitonin," notes Warren Levy, Ph.D., president and CEO of Unigene.
Unigene also acquired Annexin and related peptides for cardiovascular disease. The Queen Mary team has developed proprietary information related to the natural protein annexin and smaller peptide fragments. "As well as treating the effects of heart attack, stroke, and reperfusion injury, we envisage that we may be able to use this system for the prevention of postsurgical inflammation and for treating or preventing inflammation that results from conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and septic shock," notes Dr. Perretti.