Vivus has acquired the global exclusive rights from Selten Pharma to develop and commercialize tacrolimus and ascomycin, two investigational treatments for pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and other vascular diseases.
Vivus, a biopharmaceutical company based on Campbell, California, acquired Selten’s licence to a series of patents owned by the Board of Trustees of Stanford University, and all rights under a group of patent applications owned by Selten, a clinical-stage biopharma.
One of these patents concerns methods of using tacrolimus in the treatment of PAH.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Selten Orphan Drug designation in March 2015 for tacrolimus for the treatment of PAH. Orphan Drug status is granted to an investigational treatment for a disease that affects fewer than 200,000 people in the U.S.
“Pulmonary arterial hypertension is a degenerative disease with current treatment options that only address the symptoms to slow the progression of the disease. We are excited about the potential of tacrolimus and ascomycin to significantly improve the quality of life and life expectancy of PAH patients,” Vivus CEO Seth H. Z. Fischer said in a press release.
“The move into PAH is the latest announcement in our efforts to reshape Vivus to build long-term stockholder value, and we look forward to additional announcements in the future,” he said.
Vivus will assume all development and commercialization responsibilities of both drugs. The company is also responsible for all future financial obligations to Stanford. Selten will receive an upfront payment and is eligible to receive development and sales milestone payments, as well as royalties on future sales.
“We are excited to partner with Vivus to strive to bring new therapies to PAH patients who have limited treatment options,” said Leo Gu, PhD, president and co-CEO of Selten. “Early compassionate uses of the licensed compounds demonstrate potential to go beyond symptom management and impact the progression of disease.”
PAH is chronic disease characterized by high blood pressure in the arteries between the heart and the lungs, making it difficult for the heart to pump blood through the lungs. The condition can lead to poor quality of life and cause right heart failure if left untreated.