A drug-delivery compound originally formulated at Kansas University is getting its second injection into the Japanese pharmaceuticals market.
Overland Park-based CyDex Inc. announced Wednesday that it had secured a licensing agreement with Suntory Ltd., based in Tokyo.
Suntory will use Captisol the KU-created compound that led to CyDex's founding in 1993 in an intravenous formulation of a drug working its way through the Japanese company's development pipeline.
CyDex officials did not disclose the details of the drug, but noted Suntory's previous "innovative" work in treating serious diseases as a promising application for Captisol. The CyDex product works by improving the stability and solubility of drug compounds until they can be absorbed by the body.
"Flexibility and speed are critical skills for collaborations in the pharmaceutical industry, and CyDex and Suntory responded rapidly to provide this technology for a potentially important drug," said Peter Higuchi, president and chief executive officer of CyDex.
The agreement with Suntory is the second for CyDex in Japan, considered the world's No. 2 pharmaceutical market.
In May 2000, CyDex announced a deal with Tokyo-based Daiichi Pharmaceutical Co Ltd., which intended to use Captisol in a product that was moving through clinical trials.
Privately held CyDex, with 22 employees, was spun off from KU in 1993 to continue development of Captisol, which was created at KU's Higuchi Biosciences Center for Drug Delivery Research. Peter Higuchi is the son of the late Takeru Higuchi, founder of the center that bears his name
CyDex already has licensed Captisol for use in a variety of products being developed by some of the largest companies in the industry. Pfizer Inc., for example, is using Captisol for an antifungal compound; Allergan Inc. is using it in eye drops.
Earlier this week, CyDex announced that it had hired Joseph P. Lacz to be vice president for research and development.
Lacz most recently was senior vice president and site general manager for Quintiles Inc. in Kansas City, Mo.