Living Cell Technologies will work with Japan's Otsuka Pharmaceutical Factory to co-develop its NTCELL product for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders.
Otsuka will fund all development costs, estimated at $2 million, to complete the Phase I trial of NTCELL, as well as stumping up an initial payment of AU$3 million to Living Cell within the next month. Living Cell will receive a further milestone payment of $2 milllion when the first patient in the Phase I Parkinson’s trial has been safely implanted with NTCELL, projected for the second quarter of 2013.
The agreement also grants Otsuka an exclusive option to jointly develop and commercialise NTCELL in Parkinson’s and other neurological diseases, including hearing loss, through Diatranz Otsuka Limited (DOL), a 50:50 joint venture formed between the companies. Under this option, Otsuka will invest an additional $20 million into DOL to fund the clinical development of NTCELL and Living Cell will transfer the IP for therapeutic use of NTCELL in neurological disease and hearing loss into DOL.
Living Cell will retain the exclusive licence to develop NTCELL for the treatment of all other non-neurological diseases.
“This agreement ensures that, if the Phase I clinical trials are successful, the development of NTCELL as a treatment for Parkinson’s disease will be fully funded through to market approval,” said Andrea Grant, Living Cell managing director. “We will be able to bring NTCELL to patients and the market without further recourse to our shareholders’ funds, whilst retaining 50 percent of the commercial return through our shareholding in DOL.”
Living Cell and Otsuka are already working in partnership to develop DIABECELL, a therapy for Type 1 diabetes. DOL is conducting Phase IIb trials in both New Zealand and Argentina after successfully completing a pilot trial in Russia.