Italy's Abiogen Pharma has licensed rights to two UK-developed compounds that seem to work via a completely new mechanism of action in the treatment of anxiety states.
Abiogen has licensed the non-sedating and non-addictive compounds from UK technology transfer company BTG. The first, BTG 1640 (benzylhexahydrobenzo[d]isoxazole-4-one), recently entered Phase I clinical trials at Abiogen and is being developed to treat clinical anxiety states such as panic disorder. The second, BTG 1675A (2-(2-hydroxy-3-morpholinyl)-2-cyclohexenone), is still in the preclinical phase and has been shown additionally to have potential as an antidepressant.
A spokesman for BTG told DrugResearcher.com that the precise mechanism of action of the compounds has not been established, but is thought to be different from established anxiolytics and antidepressants, including the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.
The patent estate for the compounds contains both granted and filed applications, in Europe (EPO626951) and the USA (Nos 5,476,867 and 5,578,626).
BTG acquired the IPR to these compounds, together with several other molecules from the Universities of Bradford, Reading, Southampton and Sussex in the UK. Under the terms of the deal with Abiogen, it will receive £2 million (€2.8m) in upfront fees, as well as royalties and milestone payments.