July 17, 2008

EpiCept and GNI Join Hands to Develop Hepatitis Drug in Asia

GNI and EpiCept have reached an agreement to develop a new therapeutic drug, EP1013, in Asia, Australia, and New Zealand, for late-stage viral infection-induced hepatitis.

Under the agreement, EpiCept will retain the rights in the rest of the world. GNI's wholly owned subsidiary, Shanghai Genomics, will start preparation for pre-investigational new drug (IND) application and clinical development in China immediately.

In return for granting a license to GNI to develop EP1013, EpiCept earned an upfront license fee and will be eligible to earn milestone payments and royalties on commercial sales. GNI intends to complete toxicology and pharmacokinetic studies to prepare for an IND filing with the Chinese SFDA as soon as possible.

Jack Talley, president and CEO of EpiCept, said: "We are pleased to establish this collaboration to accelerate the development of EP1013 for a therapeutic area which is outside of our core focus areas in oncology and pain management. Caspase inhibitors may provide a new therapeutic modality for the treatment of degenerative diseases that involve apoptotic cell death."