Clinical development in China will begin immediately.

GNI obtained a license to develop EpiCept’s EP1013 in Asia, Australia, and New Zealand for late-stage viral infection-induced hepatitis. EpiCept will retain the rights in the rest of the world. EpiCept earned an upfront license fee and will be eligible to earn milestone payments and royalties on commercial sales.

Shanghai Genomics, a GNI subsidiary, will start preparation for pre-IND and clinical development in China immediately. EP1013 is a di-peptide small molecule with a reported potent and irreversible inhibitory effect on caspases. Initial tests of EP1013 have shown efficacy in animal models of liver failure, brain ischemia, and myocardial infarction, according to the companies.

“Both in-house development and external codevelopment are important components of our R&D strategy,” reports Ying Luo, CEO of GNI and Shanghai Genomics. “EP1013 is complementary to F351, our first drug candidate in Phase I trial for liver fibrosis. Developing these two products in Asia will establish us as a leading player in liver disease therapy.”

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