La Jolla Pharmaceutical said today it signed an option agreement to license from George Washington University (GW) an unspecified technology to be used in developing the company’s second lead product.

The technology will be applied in La Jolla’s development of LJPC-501, a natural peptide antagonist of the renin-angiotensin pathway.

LJPC-501 is designed for treatment of hepatorenal syndrome (HRS), a life-threatening form of progressive renal failure in patients with liver cirrhosis or fulminant liver failure.

Last year the FDA accepted La Jolla’s IND to study LJPC-501 in HRS patients. At the time, the company spoke of launching a Phase I clinical trial for the experimental drug during 2013. But that study (NCT01906307) was not yet open for participant recruitment as of the trial’s most recent update on Oct. 7, according to

La Jolla said the agreement with GW will also add potential proprietary protection to La Jolla’s pipeline, which includes treatments for chronic kidney disease, hepatorenal syndrome, chronic iron overload, and rare diseases.

La Jolla’s lead product is GCS-100, a first-in-class inhibitor of galectin-3, a molecular target linked to chronic organ failure and cancer. The company also has a third product candidate in development, LJPC-401, a natural peptide for the treatment of iron overload.

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