Buffalo, NY and Vietnam – PharmaEssentia (TSE:6446) and Athenex are pleased to announce the execution of an amendment to the prior license agreements between the two companies that provides for PharmaEssentia to acquire the rights to develop and commercialize Oraxol and Oratecan in Vietnam and for Athenex to reacquire the right to market and commercialize KX-01 Ointment for the indication of actinic keratosis in China. PharmaEssentia will maintain the rights to develop and commercialize KX-01 for actinic keratosis in Taiwan, as well as the indication of psoriasis in Taiwan and China.
Oraxol and Oratecan, currently in Phase 3 and Phase 1 studies, respectively, are oral versions of paclitaxel and irinotecan based on the use of HM30181A, a novel p-glycoprotein inhibitor to facilitate absorption, originally developed and licensed to Athenex by Hanmi Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. Both products are part of Athenex’s Orascovery platform developed by Hanmi Pharmaceuticals. In a collaborative venture, Hanmi licensed to Athenex the global rights to the Orascovery program apart from Korea and Japan. ZenRx has joined the effort to develop Oraxol and Oratecan in New Zealand and Australia, and PharmaEssentia now holds the rights to Oraxol and Oratecan in Taiwan, Singapore and Vietnam
Originally developed by Athenex, KX-01 is a Src kinase and pre-tubulin dual inhibitor and orally available anti-cancer drug. PharmaEssentia has led the development effort of KX-01 Ointment for the indication of psoriasis in Taiwan, Hanmi holds the development rights to KX-01 as an oral anti-cancer drug in the territories of Korea and Japan, and Athenex has led the development effort of KX-01 Ointment for the indication of actinic keratosis.
Dr. Ko-Chung Lin, Chief Executive Officer of PharmaEssentia, stated: “Athenex is a great business partner and we are thrilled to be expanding our collaboration in Oraxol and KX-01 Ointment. Obtaining the rights to Oraxol and Oratecan in Vietnam aligns with our strategic business plan and focus in Southeast Asia. As Athenex is also advancing their actinic keratosis program, returning the China rights to Athenex will facilitate their development of KX-01 Ointment in China. Such development is synergistic with our development of KX-01 Ointment for psoriasis in China and Taiwan (using a different strength), and we will continue to hold the rights to KX-01 Ointment for actinic keratosis in Taiwan. We are excited to be working with Athenex to bring these new medicines to the market.”
Dr. Rudolf Kwan, Athenex Chief Medical Officer, commented: “PharmaEssentia is an excellent partner and a recognized leader in the medical technology sector in Asia. With this expanded partnership for Oraxol and Oratecan in Vietnam, we believe that our combined efforts will lead to more efficient development of these important products. By reacquiring the China rights to KX-01 Ointment, we have the ability to advance our clinical program on actinic keratosis in both the US and China. We are thrilled to continue working with PharmaEssentia as we collaborate to bring more treatment options to patients.”