TORONTO, ON / ACCESSWIRE / April 20, 2020 / Edesa Biotech, Inc. (EDSA), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, today announced a strategic agreement with Light Chain Bioscience (a brand of NovImmune SA), a leading Swiss pharmaceutical development company, for an exclusive worldwide license to develop and commercialize two Phase 2-ready biologic drug candidates for all therapeutic, prophylactic and diagnostic applications.
The monoclonal antibodies licensed from Light Chain Bioscience block certain signaling proteins, known as TLR4 and CXCL10. These molecules are associated with a broad range of diseases, including infectious diseases. Edesa plans to pursue the development of these signaling molecules as potential treatments for acute respiratory distress syndrome and lung injury resulting from viral respiratory infections, such as the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, and other disorders.
Par Nijhawan, MD, Chief Executive Officer of Edesa, said that the company’s work has been made more urgent by the COVID-19 crisis. “While we originally sought these assets primarily for use in indications in line with our strategic focus areas, there is compelling data that these drug candidates could help regulate the exaggerated immune response that causes acute injury to the respiratory tract in patients with coronavirus pneumonia and other respiratory infections.”
Dr. Nijhawan noted that the administration of TLR4 and CXCL10 antagonists have been demonstrated to rescue mice from lethal influenza infection and ameliorate virus-induced acute lung injury. “With human safety data available and the lead drug already manufactured, we are preparing regulatory applications for clinical studies and plan to seek expedited government approval and support, including potential non-dilutive funding,” he said.
In consideration for the late-stage clinical assets, Edesa will issue to Light Chain Bioscience Series A-1 Convertible Preferred Shares at an agreed value of $2.5 million with a fixed conversion price and, subject to meeting certain business and clinical milestones, provide near-term consideration of up to $6.0 million for drug product inventory and other milestone fees. Edesa will be responsible for development, product registration and commercialization. Light Chain Bioscience will be eligible to receive up to $363.5 million in aggregate development, approval and commercial sales milestone payments and other consideration. Light Chain Bioscience is also eligible to receive royalties based on sales. During the term of the agreement, Edesa has the option to purchase the assets.
“Light Chain Bioscience has been at the forefront of antibody development technology for the last two decades and is a world leader in antibody engineering, and we are pleased to have been able to identify and in-license two potential best-in-class biologics for use in a broad range of therapeutic areas. As we learned more about these assets we were excited to recognize their potential application for acute respiratory distress syndrome and lung injury,” said Dr. Nijhawan. “Our strategic agreement with Light Chain Bioscience is structured to allow us to rapidly advance these experimental therapies into the clinic while minimizing immediate cash outlays.”