Kinex Pharmaceuticals and PharmaEssentia inked a new licensing agreement granting PharmaEssentia exclusive development and commercial rights to oncology products Oraxol and Oratecan in Taiwan and Singapore.

As part of the agreement, Kinex will receive an undisclosed upfront payment, milestones, and royalties. PharmaEssentia has committed to conducting clinical studies in Taiwan to contribute to the global registration programs for Oraxol and Oratecan. The companies currently have an existing licensing agreement in certain Asian countries for the dermatology preparations of KX01, Kinex’s dual Src/pretubulin inhibitor.

Oraxol and Oratecan are two of many compounds that could be developed by Kinex and its partners through the Orascovery program. According to Kinex, Orascovery is based on a platform technology developed by Hanmi Pharmaceuticals using compound HM30181A, a potent and selective P-glycoprotein (PGP) pump inhibitor. The company said suppression of the PGP pump allows certain clinically important compounds such as paclitaxel, irinotecan, and others, which would normally be effluxed back into the gastrointestinal tract and excreted, to enter the bloodstream and become bioavailable through oral administration.

Recently, Kinex dosed the first patient in its Phase Ib Oraxol study in the U.S. Further, Oraxol is in Phase II studies in Korea and plans to commence a Phase I in New Zealand in 2014. Oratecan has completed a Phase I trial in Korea. Kinex has global development and commercialization rights for Oraxol and Oratecan, excluding Korea, Japan, and India that are owned by Hanmi, New Zealand and Australia were licensed to Zenith Technology.

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