Acucela is tasked with pushing adenosine A2a receptor agonist into the clinic.

Acucela and Otsuka Pharmaceutical will work together to develop the latter’s candidate for glaucoma treatment called OPA-6566 in the U.S. The compound, an adenosine A2a receptor agonist, is currently under preclinical study, with clinical development scheduled to begin next year.

Acucela will perform early clinical development of OPA-6566 in the U.S. and receives an opt-in right to co-develop and co-promote the compound. If Acucela exercises this option, the companies will share development costs and Otsuka will receive a certain amount of the predetermined opt-in fee and milestone payments.

“Over the last few years, Acucela and Otsuka have built a strong strategic partnership to jointly pursue development efforts to deliver two innovative ophthalmologic drugs to patients—Acucela-discovered ACU-4429, being developed for dry age-related macular degeneration, and Otsuka-discovered Rebamipide ophthalmic suspension, being developed for dry eye,” states Taro Iwamoto, Ph.D., president of Otsuka Pharmaceutical. Rebamipide and ACU-4429 are both in Phase II trials.

“We are delighted to expand our working relationship with Acucela and underline our newfound resolve to develop OPA-6566 as a novel treatment for patients with glaucoma,” Dr. Iwamoto continues. OPA-6566 has a mechanism of action not seen in conventional glaucoma medications, according to the companies. The molecule has demonstrated the ability to lower intraocular pressure by stimulating aqueous humor outflow via trabecular meshwork through an activation of adenosine A2a receptor.

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