In deal with Prosidion, firm will initially carry out Phase II development of glycogen phosphorylase inhibitor.

Aestus Therapeutics nabbed exclusive worldwide rights to develop the Astellas Pharma subsidiary Prosidion’s glycogen phosphorylase inhibitor as a potential treatment for neuropathic pain. The drug, which Aestus will designate as ATx09-002, has already undergone Phase I and II evaluation by Prosidion, and will initially be evaluated by Aestus in Phase II studies against postherpetic neuralgia.

Aestus separately reported expanding an ongoing collaboration with the ALS Therapeutic Development Institute (ALS TDI) to encompass the testing of additional small-molecule compounds for their ability to slow or stop progression of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The firm’s collaboration with ALS TDI, signed in March 2010, centered on evaluation of a compound identified using Aestus’ gene-based drug discovery platform in an animal model of ALS. The encouraging data has now led to expansion of the collaboration to test compounds with a similar mode of action.

Aestus is developing a pipeline of candidates for the treatment of neurological diseases, primarily neuropathic pain. In November 2010 the firm was awarded a $244,000 grant from the U.S. Government’s Qualifying Therapeutic Discovery Project program. The grant will support Phase II trials with its lead compound ATx08-001, which, like ATx09-002, is also in development for the treatment of postherpetic neuralgia.

U.K.-based Prosidion is focused primarily on the discovery and development of novel therapies for type 2 diabetes and obesity. The firm’s lead compound, PSN821, is an orally administered GPR119 agonist, currently in Phase II development for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.  

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