Dublin, Ireland-based AGI Therapeutics has signed up for access to private US group Williamsburg Holdings’ novel prodrug platform for the anti-sickness drug levosulpiride.

For an undisclosed sum, the company has bought itself an exclusive option agreement to license “certain intellectual property and know-how” surrounding the platform for the agent, which is already marketed around the globe for certain gastrointestinal conditions.

Under the project name AGI-025, AGI plans to develop an optimal prodrug form of the drug, which, claims, is expected to have “important” therapeutic advantages over levosulpride itself.

Specific terms of the deal were not revealed, but AGI noted that certain pre-existing in-licensing fees, milestone payments and cost-sharing arrangements will paid if it decides to exercise its option to enter into full a licensing deal with Williamsburg.

Potential applications

The option period will initially run for 12 months, during which AGI intends to carry out further research and development of AG-025. According to the group’s chief executive, John Devane, possible applications for levosulpiride include nausea and vomiting induced by chemotherapy, functional dyspepsia, gastric stasis including diabetic and post-operative gastroparesis and gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Explaining the strategy behind the move, Devane, said: “For some time we have been interested in the anti-emetic and prokinetic properties of levosulpiride…We were impressed by the intellectual property developed by Williamsburg Holdings, and are pleased that we have been able to agree an exclusive option agreement with pre-defined future licensing terms.”

“While still an early stage opportunity, we believe this could become an important area of interest for AGI and demonstrates our commitment to broaden our early stage portfolio,” he concluded.