Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative will carry out clinical trials of ravuconazole prodrug.

Eisai is teaming up with the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative to develop a prodrug of Eisai’s antifungal agent ravuconazole as a treatment for Chagas disease.  The company separately reported negotiating development and commercialization rights to Kyorin’s overactive bladder therapy, Uritos®, in China, India, Sri Lanka, and ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries.

Under terms of the Chagas disease collaboration, the DNDi will be responsible for clinical development of the ravuconazole prodrug, E1224, in infected patients within endemic countries. Eisai will provide the organization with expertise and supplies of the drug for clinical trials. The company also retains an option to co-manufacture, register, and sell E1224 cost-effectively in relevant countries. 

Eisai claims studies have confirmed that ravuconazole demonstrates potent in vitro and in vivo activity against Trypanosoma cruzi, the pathogen responsible for Chagas disease. The infective organism is spread by blood-sucking reduviid insects, known as kissing bugs.

The development deal with Kyorin, meanwhile, gives Eisai exclusive rights to develop and market Uritos tablets in the designated countries. The companies claim the anticholinergic agent exerts its effects selectively on the M3 and M1 muscarinic subtype receptors. This reduces the incidence of dry mouth, a common side-effect of other anticholinergic agents.

Uritos was launched in Japan in 2007, where it is marketed by Kyorin as Uritos and by Ono Pharmaceutical as Staybla. This February Kyorin signed a license and supply agreement with Saudi Pharmaceutical Industries & Medical Appliances, giving it exclusives right to develop, register, import, and market Uritos in 13 countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region including Saudi Arabia.

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