Japan's Teijin Pharma has signed a licensing deal to get access to an investigational respiratory treatment discovered by Pulmagen Therapeutics of the UK.

The Tokyo-based group has bagged rights to develop, manufacture and market ADC3680, a bronchial asthma therapeutic, in Japan. No financial details of the collaboration have been disclosed.

Teijin aims to begin Phase I trials in Japan in its fiscal year starting in April 2013, while Pulmagen has already commenced Phase II studies for the drug in the UK and will embark on global efficacy trial shortly. ADC3680 acts by inhibiting the binding of a key inflammatory mediator, PGD2, to its receptor, CRTh2.

Teijin says the oral agent has the potential for easy use both as monotherapy and in combination with other established drugs including inhaled corticosteroids. Besides bronchial asthma, it may be effective for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and allergic rhinitis, as well as in certain non-respiratory inflammatory diseases.

The number of people in Japan suffering from bronchial asthma has nearly doubled to more than eight million adults and children over the past 10 years. Although mortality is declining, more than 2,000 people, mainly elderly, still die from the condition every year, according to statistics published by the country's Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.