Swiss specialty biopharma group Ferring Pharmaceuticals is funding early development work to evaluate the use of Foresee Pharmaceuticals’s stabilized injection formulation (SIF) drug delivery platform for developing long-acting, controlled-release peptide therapeutic formulations. Under terms of the global development and option deal, Ferring has an option to sign a definitive agreement with Foresee, through which the latter would earn up front and milestone payments, plus sales royalties. 

“We have been impressed with Foresee’s achievements to date and we see value in its SIF platform technology,” said Alan S. Harris, svp for the R&D executive office at Ferring. “The technical barriers Foresee has overcome in developing stable, formulated peptides in solution for controlled-release therapy for 3- and 6-month durations of action after a single injection are quite significant, and this gives us much confidence in the potential of the SIF platform applied to complex peptide drug substances.”

Ferring's deal with Foresee comes a couple of weeks after the Swiss firm reported signing a license agreement with Enteris BioPharma for the latter's oral peptide and small-molecule delivery platform Peptelligence™. The technology is being exploited to develop an oral formulation of a peptide-based injectable therapeutic developed by Ferring.

Foresee is a Taiwan- and U.S.-based biopharma that is separately leveraging its SIF drug delivery and rational drug design platforms. SIF-formulated products are in development for therapeutic areas that include prostate cancer, acromegaly, carcinoid tumors, substance abuse, pain relief, and diabetic retinopathy. Lead SIF product FP-001 LMIS (leuprolide mesylate for injectable suspension) 50 mg is in late-stage development for treating prostate cancer. Positive topline data from an open-label, single-arm Phase III registrational study in advanced prostate cancer was reported in January. In a letter to shareholders earlier last month, Foresee chairman and CEO Ben Chien said the firm anticipated filing for approval of FP-001 LMIS 50-mg product in Europe and the U.S. during 2018. Phase III studies with a 25-mg, 3-month dose of FP-001 LMIS are planned for later this year.

Foresee is separately building a preclinical and clinical pipeline of new chemical entities (NCEs) targeting inflammatory and fibrotic diseases. The lead program is focused on a highly selective, nonhydroxamate class of oral matrix metalloproteinase-12 (MMP-12) inhibitors for treating asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and other disorders that involve upregulation of MMP-12. Lead candidate FP-025 is expected to complete a Phase I study for COPD during mid-2017  and move into Phase II development by the end of the year.

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