Two U.S. companies, Respira Therapeutics and United Therapeutics, will jointly develop and license RT234 and its dry-powder inhaler drug delivery technology AOS-DPI to treat pulmonary hypertension (PH) in the United States.
Under the agreement, United, based in Silver Spring, Md., will finance the development of RT234 towards its approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It will also be the lead investor in Respire, based in Albuquerque, N.M., although Respira’s current investors, Cottonwood Technology Fund and Sun Mountain Capital, will also contribute.
“Respira is very excited to be working with United Therapeutics, arguably the leading pulmonary hypertension pharmaceutical company in the world,” Bob Curtis, Respira’s president and CEO, said in a news release. “We share a common commitment to develop disruptive therapeutic approaches that can translate into disease-altering medicines for patients with pulmonary hypertension and other diseases. This important investment and strategic collaboration will allow our company to capitalize on the innovative research pipeline we have developed.”
Respira will also pursue other products and retains complete control of its investigational programs in other diseases.
“We are very pleased to extend our leadership in pulmonary hypertension by collaborating with Respira on inhaled RT234,” said Martine Rothblatt, PhD, United’s chairman and CEO. “We believe that Respira’s novel technology will enable us to continue providing more oral and inhaled medicines to more pulmonary hypertension patients in the U.S. than any other company.”
According to Respira, the AOS platform for the delivery of dry powder drugs targets 1.4 to 2.5 times more inhaled drug to the lung than other available devices. The company expects to start preclinical tests recommended by the FDA this year, and a clinical program with patients in 2018.
“As founding investor of Respira, it is gratifying to see the progress made by the Respira’s team.” said David Blivin, Cottonwood Technology Fund’s managing partner. “This is a great first step toward demonstrating the broad application of Respira’s AOS dry powder inhaler technology.”