Biotechnology company Biocon on Wednesday said it has entered into a licensing and collaboration agreement with US-based Quark Pharmaceuticals to co-develop and commercialise novel drugs for ophthalmic conditions, such as glaucoma, in India and other key markets.
The announcement also came on a day Biocon’s shares touched a 52-week high of R450.90 at the BSE before closing at R437.35, a gain of 11.38%.
Biocon, which did not disclose financial terms of the partnership, said it will have access to Quark’s proprietary technology for small interfering RNA (siRNA), which are a class of molecules key to the process of inhibiting gene expression, also known as RNA interference (RNAi).
The company said it will be able to co-develop, manufacture and commercialise QPI-1007, a novel siRNA drug candidate that has completed phase I/IIa trials conducted in the US and Israel. An expert team of scientists from Quark and Biocon will jointly work on the development of QPI-1007, which is aimed at ocular neuroprotection in conditions such as acute angle closure glaucoma, besides developing an additional novel pipeline, it said.
“Quark is the world leader in this technology and our joint development efforts on QPI-1007 aims at providing relief to several patients suffering from serious ophthalmic conditions,” Biocon CMD Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw said. “We hope to use this technology for developing several other novel therapeutics.”
“We believe siRNA is going to make a very important impact in the field of pharmaceuticals discovery and development,” QuarkPharma CEO Daniel Zurr said.