MENLO PARK, Calif.—SRI International, an independent nonprofit research institute, and Nobelpharma Co. Ltd., a Japanese pharmaceutical company, have entered into a licensing agreement to test SR16234, an SRI drug candidate that may be effective in treating endometriosis. SR16234 is a member of a class of drugs known as selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) that regulate the effects of the hormone estrogen.
“In exploring additional uses of our SERMs,” explains Dina Basis of SRI corporate communications, “including repurposing to new therapeutic areas, as well as evaluating companies complementary to those already developing or selling SRI pharmaceutical discoveries, we began talking to a number of potential new collaborators. We were introduced to Nobelpharma by colleagues and began developing a cordial relationship that ultimately found a fit between what SRI was working on and what Nobelpharma was looking for in its drug pipeline.”
“This important collaboration is addressing a critical, unmet medical need, and we are doing so via a novel therapeutic approach targeting the underlying biological mechanisms of endometriosis,” said Dr. Walter H. Moos, vice president of SRI Biosciences.
“We view our relationship with Nobelpharma as long-term,” Basin tells DDNews, “and hope to expand our partnership in due course. The licensing agreement is typical of biotech-pharma licensing deals. Assuming successful clinical development, Nobelpharma will market the product. There is a Joint Steering Committee [and] Nobelpharma is responsible for the drug’s development and commercialization.”
“Nobelpharma has a track record of developing drugs to address women’s health needs, and we are eager to contribute further to this area by partnering with SRI,” added Jin Shiomura, Nobelpharma president and CEO. “After upcoming preliminary studies are completed, we hope to advance SR16234 into clinical trials in Japan for the treatment of endometriosis.”
Endometriosis is a chronic disease that occurs when cells that line the uterus or womb grow elsewhere in the body. This misplaced tissue responds to hormonal changes and causes internal bleeding and inflammation that can lead to pain, scar tissue formation and infertility. According to the nonprofit World Endometriosis Research Foundation, endometriosis affects approximately 176 million women worldwide.
“Currently available endometriosis treatments often address only the symptoms, such as pain and infertility, and not the underlying causes of the disease,” according to Dr. Krishna Kodukula, executive director of strategic development at SRI Biosciences. “There is a clear need for something better.”
Innovations from SRI International have created new industries, billions of dollars of marketplace value and lasting benefits to society, according to the company. SRI, a nonprofit research and development institute based in Silicon Valley, brings its innovations to the marketplace through technology licensing, new products and spinoff ventures. Government and business clients come to SRI for pioneering R&D and solutions in computing and communications, chemistry and materials, education, energy, health and pharmaceuticals, national defense, robotics, sensing and more.
SRI Biosciences carries out basic research, drug discovery and drug development, possessing the resources necessary to take R&D from initial discoveries to clinical trials. SRI’s product pipeline has yielded marketed drugs, therapeutics currently in human testing and additional programs at earlier stages. SRI Biosciences also offers a wide range of contract research services, helping government and industry clients and partners advance drugs and other biomedical products toward commercialization. In addition, SRI is working to create the next generation of technologies in areas such as diagnostics, drug delivery, medical devices and systems biology.
Nobelpharma has been contributing to medical care through the research and development of pharmaceuticals for those diseases that existing pharmaceutical companies abandon, according to the company. Based in Tokyo, Nobelpharma’s goal is to develop existing medicines for unmet needs. Medicines that are strongly requested by patient groups and medical societies have priority for development. The company focuses on such themes as orphan drugs, medicines used off-label for additional efficacy and pediatric medicines.