Menlo Therapeutics Inc., (Menlo Park, CA) announced today that it has entered into an exclusive license agreement with Japan Tobacco Inc. (JT) (TSE:2914) and Torii Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (Torii) (TSE:4551) for the development and commercialization of serlopitant in Japan.
Serlopitant is a first–in-class, once-daily oral NK-1 receptor antagonist candidate for the treatment of pruritus. Serlopitant has demonstrated antipruritic effects in a Phase 2 clinical trial in patients with severe, chronic pruritus conducted by Menlo Therapeutics.
Under the terms of the agreement, JT and Torii will jointly develop serlopitant in Japan and Torii will commercialize it, once the development and necessary approval procedures have been completed. The companies will pay to Menlo Therapeutics upfront licensing fees and payments upon the achievement of certain milestones, and royalties based on future sales in Japan.
Serlopitant has been evaluated in a 257-patient randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled dose-finding Phase 2 clinical trial for the treatment of severe chronic pruritus. All serlopitant treatment groups demonstrated reduced pruritus as compared with the placebo group, with statistically significant improvement seen at the two higher dose levels. Based upon this successful Phase 2 study, Menlo Therapeutics in partnership with JT and Torii is expanding development to multiple clinical populations in which severe pruritus represents a significant unmet clinical need.
“We are delighted to have JT and Torii as our partner in Japan. JT and Torii have significant pruritus development and marketing experience in Japan, and they are the current market leader in pruritus therapy for patients on hemodialysis. Torii also has a strong established position in the Japanese dermatology market. These dual market capabilities make JT and Torii an excellent partner for serlopitant development and commercialization,” said Steve Basta, CEO of Menlo Therapeutics.