Astellas Licenses Ear-Care Drug Program
Astellas Pharma has executed a license agreement for an exclusive worldwide license to an ear-care program with Auration Biotech, a San Mateo, California-based privately held biotechnology company that specializes in therapeutics for restoring or maintaining hearing.
Astellas and Auration formed a partnership in October 2015 with an option for Astellas to enter into a license agreement with Auration for the ear-care program, known as AU-935. Astellas decided to exercise the option as the efficacy of the AU-935 program was confirmed with preclinical studies for chronic tympanic membrane perforation conducted by Astellas under the agreement.
Going forward, Astellas will, at its cost and expense, develop and commercialize the AU-935 program. Astellas will make an up-front payment at the time of the execution of the agreement and milestone payments upon the achievement of certain development milestones. In addition, Astellas will make royalty payments at a certain rate for net sales of the product.
The AU-935 program, based on a discovery from Stanford University, includes the active substance heparin-binding epidermal growth factor-like growth factor (HB-EGF). HB-EGF is a member of the EGF family and has been shown to play a role in the process of tympanic membrane regeneration, according to Astellas. AU-935 is being developed as a topical application that would be an alternative to surgery.