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Archive for Thursday, November 29, 2001

KU-bred spinoffs secure drug deals

November 29, 2001

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Two companies built on drug-delivery technologies formulated at Kansas University announced separate affiliations Wednesday with major drug makers.

CyDex Inc., Overland Park, said it had signed a licensing deal for use of its Captisol delivery compound by OSI Pharmaceuticals Inc., a New York-based developer and producer of treatments for cancer, respiratory diseases and diabetes.

"We are excited to support OSI's next-generation cancer drug pipeline," said Peter Higuchi, CyDex president and chief executive officer.

Separately Wednesday, CritiTech Inc. signed its first research-and-development contract with an undisclosed major drug company, said Doug Johnson, CEO of the Lawrence-based startup.

CritiTech will use its patented technology to develop a drug-laden coating for cardiac stents, the tiny metal device used to keep arteries open following an angioplasty. The coating would be intended to prevent inflammation inside a treated artery.

Johnson said the coating, if successful, could give CritiTech a leading stake in a $2 billion-a-year market.

"This is a start," Johnson said Wednesday, after signing the deal. "It's out first step toward recognition. It's very important."

Both CritiTech and CyDex are spinoffs from KU's Higuchi Biosciences Center for Drug Delivery Research. The center is named for the late Takeru Higuchi, a late KU professor who was an international leader in pharmaceutical chemistry. His son now heads CyDex.

Both companies are privately held by investment groups, venture capitalists and others. KU also retains an ownership stake in each company.

CyDex's deal with OSI is the latest in a string of licensing arrangements for Captisol, which boosts the stability and solubility of drug compounds for use in the body. Pfizer Inc. is using Captisol for an antifungal compound; Allergan Inc. is using it in eye drops; and Suntory Ltd. secured permission to use it for undisclosed drugs in development.

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