Catalent signs on to help Sellas get a repurposed drug to the finish line

Catalent ($CTLT) has signed a deal with Sellas to help the Swiss drugmaker develop an existing insomnia treatment for other central nervous system disorders.

Under the agreement, Catalent will use its proprietary OSDrC OptiDose technology to craft a new formulation of zolpidem, which Sellas hopes to develop for Parkinson's disease and the orphan progressive supranuclear palsy. Beyond formulation, Catalent is on hand to provide clinical supplies, distribution services and commercial manufacturing. Neither company is disclosing financial details.

Sellas' model involves in-licensing treatments for underserved diseases, whether they be entirely new entities or existing treatments with untapped potential. The company has locked up the patents to a certain mechanism of action in zolpidem that has wide applications in CNS disorders, Sellas said, and with Catalent on board, the drugmaker believes it can actualize that promise.

"Catalent's proven track record in innovative technologies for formulation and drug delivery make them an ideal partner to help bring this important therapeutic to market quickly, since current pharmacological treatments are unsatisfactory," CEO Angelos Stergiou said in a statement.

The deal comes just weeks after Sellas signed an expansive deal with PPD through which the CRO will serve as strategic partner, helping to steer pipeline decision-making. Beyond zolpidem, Sellas is working on WT1, a cancer vaccine licensed from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center with promise in acute myeloid leukemia, mesothelioma and multiple myeloma.

- read the statement