Shionogi, Hsiri Therapeutics build out lung disease R&D pact

Lungs illustration (Image: Pixabay)
In exchange for an upfront fee and potential milestones and royalties, Osaka, Japan-based Shionogi has the global rights to develop, manufacture and market any drugs that come out of the deal. (Pixabay)

Shionogi and Hsiri Therapeutics joined forces last year in a licensing and R&D deal focused on tuberculosis and non-tuberculous lung infections. Now, they are expanding that deal, with the Japanese biotech licensing a new technology from Hsiri that will be “complementary to Shionogi's current research” in the collaboration. 

In exchange for an upfront fee and potential milestones and royalties, Osaka, Japan-based Shionogi has the global rights to develop, manufacture and market any drugs that come out of the deal. The pair did not disclose financial details. 

Hsiri didn’t elaborate on its new technology, other than saying it has a new mechanism of action that could make its approach more effective than standard treatments for mycobacterial infections. 

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Mycobacterium tuberculosis and nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) both cause chronic lung infections. The key difference is tuberculosis (TB) spreads from person to person, while NTM, found in water and soil, is inhaled from the environment. 

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“There is a medical need to develop novel anti-NTM drugs because of the long duration of treatment and insufficient treatment outcome of current therapeutics,” Hsiri said in a statement. “TB is one of the three major infectious diseases in the world and new cases of TB are estimated to be 10.4 million/year.” 

Hsiri also highlighted the need for new drugs to treat multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, which is resistant to the two most powerful anti-TB drugs and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis, which is resistant to the four main drugs used to treat the disease. 

According to the World Health Organization, tuberculosis sickened about 10 million people and killed 1.3 million in 2017. Of these patients, the agency estimated 558,000 developed multidrug-resistant TB. Inappropriate or incorrect use of antimicrobial drugs, ineffective formulations and early termination of treatment can all contribute to drug resistance. 

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