Renova Therapeutics has licensed rights to Janssen Pharmaceuticals’ IND file for stresscopin, a hormone involved in responses to physiological stress, with the goal of advancing the program as a treatment for a form of heart failure.

The value of the license was not disclosed by Renova, which announced the agreement with Janssen earlier this week.

Renova’s candidate, RT-400, is a peptide infusion treatment indicated for acute decompensated heart Failure (ADHF), which accounts for approximately half of all heart failure-related causes of hospitalization in the U.S., the company said.

“Obtaining this stresscopin program IND helps propel forward the development of our peptide infusion product candidate, RT-400,” Jack W. Reich, Ph.D., Renova CEO and co-founder, said in a statement. “With this data, we hope to see promising results as we initiate pivotal trials.”

RT-400 is now in Phase II, according to Renova’s website. The statement offered no information on when pivotal trials would be launched.

In a Janssen-funded study published in 2015 in Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology, stresscopin was among a family of peptides shown to effectively increase cardiac contractility. As a result, the study found, stresscopin and other corticotropin-releasing factor peptides “should be evaluated as potential novel therapeutics for heart failure patients.”

“In conclusion, the CRF family of peptides, particularly SCP [stresscopin], has positive inotropic effects on adult ventricular myocytes,” the study added.

Renova also holds an exclusive license to the stresscopin peptide from the nonprofit Research Development Foundation.

Renova focuses on gene therapy treatments and peptide infusions intended to treat cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. The company’s lead product, RT-100, is a treatment designed to deliver a therapeutic gene directly to the heart during a routine outpatient procedure, with potential to increase heart function in patients with congestive heart failure.

Also in Renova’s pipeline is RT-200, a preclinical gene therapy candidate for type 2 diabetes.

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