Glycyx PharmaVentures Ltd., a biopharma investment and development company founded by Lorin K. Johnson, Ph.D., has agreed to enter into an exclusive license agreement with Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. (“Valeant”), pursuant to which Valeant will grant to Glycyx a license or sublicense to develop and commercialize products containing methylnaltrexone bromide for oncology indications in countries outside the US and Canada, with the right to extend the license to the US and Canada if Valeant elects not to exploit the product in such countries. Glycyx would pay sales-based milestones and royalties to Valeant. The arrangement is subject to the negotiation by the parties of a mutually satisfactory license agreement. Valeant currently commercializes methylnaltrexone bromide, known as Relistor®, for the treatment of opioid induced constipation (OIC) in adults with chronic non-cancer pain.
Opioids are among the most widely used drugs for patients with cancer with both acute and chronic pain as well as in the perioperative period. Several retrospective studies have suggested that opioid use might promote tumor progression and as a result negatively impact survival in patients with advanced cancer. The molecular mechanism of action of peripheral µ-opioid receptor (MOR) antagonists in blocking cancer progression has previously been widely studied and validated in in vitro and animal models in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), head and neck cancer, breast cancer and melanomas. A recently published study1 showed that treatment with methylnaltrexone is associated with increased survival in patients with a variety of advanced cancers.
“We are delighted with the opportunity to continue the development of this product in the oncology area,” said Lorin K. Johnson, Ph.D., Founder of Glycyx. “The first focus of the program will be on pancreatic oncology and is based on fundamental science performed by Professor of Anesthesia and Critical Care, Jonathan Moss M.D., Ph.D. and his colleagues at the University of Chicago.”