Santen, jCyte Sign Licensing Contract for Investigational Retinitis Pigmentosa Therapy

May 14, 2020

Santen Pharmaceutical has concluded a licensing agreement with jCyte for the development, registration, and commercialization rights to jCell, an investigational retinitis pigmentosa therapy, in Japan, Asia, and Europe.

Specialist ophthalmic pharmaceuticals company, Santen Pharmaceutical, has concluded a licensing agreement with jCyte, a clinical-stage biotech, for the development, registration, and commercialization rights to jCell, an investigational retinitis pigmentosa therapy, in Japan, Asia, and Europe.

According to a May 13, 2020 press release, the investigational cell therapy, jCell, has been under development by jCyte and is chiefly made up of retinal progenitor cells. Administration of the therapy will be via intravitreal injection, which is a minimally invasive procedure. After introduction to the eye, the progenitor cells will release growth and protection factors that activate and protect retinal cells. This mechanism of action is believed to have the potential to treat any form of retinitis pigmentosa, irrespective of genetic causes.

At the time of writing, the evaluable Phase IIb portion of the clinical trial evaluating jCell for the treatment of retinitis pigmentosa has been concluded and the crossover portion is ongoing. FDA has designated jCell as a Regenerative Medicine Advanced Therapy (RMAT) as a result of early clinical data, which means that the therapy may be eligible for biologics license application priority review. Furthermore, the therapy has received orphan drug designation from FDA and the European Medicines Agency.

During the course of the collaboration, jCyte will receive US$252 million in upfront and milestone payments, as per the terms of the agreement. This amount does not include any potential future royalties on sales. 

Source: Santen Pharmaceutical