BASEL, Switzerland I December 21, 2016 I Dermavant Sciences, a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing innovative therapies for dermatologic conditions, today announced that it has entered into an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement with Portola Pharmaceuticals, Inc. for the development and commercialization of cerdulatinib in topical applications beyond oncology.

Cerdulatinib is a dual spleen tyrosine kinase (Syk) and janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor that Portola is developing to treat patients with resistant or relapsed hematologic cancer. Cerdulatinib is currently being investigated in an ongoing Phase 2a trial in patients with relapsed/refractory B-cell malignancies who have failed multiple therapies. Under the terms of the agreement with Dermavant, Portola retains full rights to all non-topical formulations of cerdulatinib, including oral formulations.

Dermavant, a subsidiary of Roivant Sciences, intends to pursue the clinical development of cerdulatinib as a topical therapy for a variety of dermatologic conditions. Dermavant believes that the profile of cerdulatinib is ideal for development in these skin diseases where a growing body of evidence suggests that both JAK and Syk are important drivers of disease manifestation.

“The addition of cerdulatinib to our pipeline renders Dermavant an emerging leader in medical dermatology,” said Jim Lee, MD, PhD, the newly-appointed Chief Medical Officer of Dermavant. “Given the anti-inflammatory properties associated with both JAK and Syk inhibition we look forward to advancing the clinical development of cerdulatinib as a potential therapy for a number of dermatologic conditions with significant unmet need.”

Appointment of Dr. Jim Lee as Chief Medical Officer

Dermavant’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Jim Lee, brings over 17 years of experience in successfully developing multiple therapies across various indications in the field of dermatology. Most recently he served as Vice President, Global Head of Clinical Development at Stiefel Laboratories from 2011 to 2016. Dr. Lee previously served as Chief Medical Officer at Graceway Pharmaceuticals LLC and Director of Immunology at Centocor Inc. Dr. Lee received his MD and PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Illinois College of Medicine.

About Dermavant Sciences

Dermavant Sciences is a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing innovative therapies for dermatologic conditions. Dermavant is currently enrolling patients with mild-to-moderate atopic dermatitis in a Phase 2 clinical study for RVT-501, an investigational topical phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitor. Dermavant also plans to pursue the clinical development of RVT-201, a novel caspase-1 inhibitor, as a topical therapy for multiple dermatologic conditions.

SOURCE: Dermavanat Sciences