Decibel Therapeutics and Oricula Therapeutics today announced that Decibel has obtained an exclusive, worldwide license to the development and commercialization of ORC-13661, an oral medication developed by Oricula Therapeutics for the prevention of hearing loss and balance disorders that can occur following treatment of severe infections with aminoglycoside antibiotics. Particularly susceptible populations include those treated for pulmonary exacerbations associated with cystic fibrosis, non-tuberculous mycobacterial infections, multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, and endocarditis. As part of the agreement, Oricula will provide ongoing scientific advice and support.
"Aminoglycosides are an important class of antibiotics that offer powerful efficacy for serious infections," said Oricula CEO Malcolm Gleser, M.D., Ph.D. "With that efficacy, however, comes the risk of permanent hearing loss and balance problems, which can have a significant impact on quality of life. This is especially true for cystic fibrosis patients, who often require repeat courses of aminoglycosides to treat pulmonary exacerbations throughout their life. We are thrilled to partner with Decibel to bring this much-needed medication to clinicians and patients."
With roots in a research collaboration between the University of Washington and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, ORC-13661 was licensed to Oricula Therapeutics in 2013 to accelerate preclinical research activities and advance the compound into the clinic. A Phase I clinical trial to evaluate safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics is currently ongoing.
"Decibel has built the first fully integrated discovery, development, and translational platform tailor-made for hearing therapeutics. Our specialized capabilities in hearing have increasingly led world-class hearing researchers like the team at Oricula to seek out partnerships with Decibel," noted Paula Cobb, EVP Corporate Development at Decibel. "We are eager to apply our expertise and resources to the development of a novel medicine addressing a significant unmet need. Clinicians and patients should not have to sacrifice hearing and balance to achieve the potent antibiotic efficacy of aminoglycosides."