Levolta Pharmaceuticals and Tabuk enter licensing and distribution agreement for osteoarthritis treatment

By Liza Laws

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images
© Getty Images

Related tags osteoarthritis Therapy Clinical trial licensing agreement Pharmaceutical industry

Pennsylvania-based Levolta Pharmaceuticals has entered into an exclusive licensing and distribution agreement with Saudi Arabia company, Tabuk Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Company to start commercializing a therapy for osteoarthritis (OA).

The investigational therapy will be promoted in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region excluding South Africa.

The therapy, called VOLTO1 is a patented, novel combination drug which has shown promise in phase 2 and 2b and 3 clinical trials in treating OA which has no cure.

Richard Becker, chief executive officer at Levolta, said: “We are excited to announce this partnership with Tabuk Pharmaceuticals, as it represents the next step in bringing the first disease modifying therapy for osteoarthritis to market.

“Our goal is to fill the global void in the treatment of osteoarthritis, which affects more than 32.5 million adults in the United States alone. Tabuk is the market leader in MEA and will be a valuable partner in fulfilling that mission.”

Tabuk Pharmaceuticals, a fully owned subsidiary of Astra Industrial Group, will hold the marketing authorization and be responsible for registering, importing, and commercializing VOLT01 in the MEA region.

Mohammed Al Hagbani, CEO of Tabuk Pharmaceuticals, and president of Astra said: “We believe in our vital role to provide patients across the Middle East and Africa with unique healthcare solutions that support their wellbeing.

“We are confident that VOLT01 will play a major role in improving the health condition of more than five million osteoarthritis patients in Saudi Arabia as well as many other patients across the region suffering from this disease. Our partnership with Levolta will strengthen our commitment to further support the Kingdom with the 2030 vision of providing unique medications addressing different therapy areas. Tabuk is committed to providing MEA region patients with the highest quality medications.”

The companies note that OA is a major, but poorly understood public health problem and found that musculoskeletal disorders are the leading cause of disability in the US, according to the Council for Disability Awareness. It is the most common form of arthritis among older adults and one of the most common causes of physical disability among adults, the National Institute on Aging reports.

“The development of a disease modifying drug for osteoarthritis has been an unachievable quest so far, but with VOLT01, that goal may finally be achieved,” said Levolta chief medical officer, Ketan Desai

“Our phase 2 studies​ demonstrate long lasting pain relief, up to nine months, in patients with osteoarthritis after a single 30-minute intravenous infusion. More importantly, VOLT01 showed disease modifying activity as measured by MRI with pain relief correlating with disease modification. We look forward to pivotal studies that will enable VOLT01 to have a label for pain relief of osteoarthritis in all joints along with disease modification after a single yearly infusion.” 

Levolta said it expects to begin phase 3 clinical trials for VOLT01 in late 2023 or early 2024.

It will be responsible for product manufacturing and quality assurance initiatives as part of the Tabuk agreement. The company expects to launch similar partnerships with other pharmaceutical companies globally.

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