FGH Biotech in license deal with Japanese universities

Houston, Texas-based FGH Biotech said it entered a license agreement with Kyoto University (KU) and Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology (TUAT) that gives FGH “access to ground-breaking Vitamin D based technologies to address metabolic disorders and cancer.”

FGH said the agreement provides it with “an exclusive worldwide license to patents and technology for the development and commercialization of Vitamin D and its derivatives for therapeutic and nutritional use.”

Financial details of the license agreement were not disclosed.

FGH said it is a leader in “small molecules targeting transcription factors that serve as the master regulatory switch for fat production, known as sterol regulatory element-binding proteins (SREBP).”

FGH said its patented drug candidates called “Fatostatins” directly target this pathway.

“Research conducted at KU by FGH co-founder Dr. Motonari Uesugi, deputy director of the university’s institute for integrated Cell-Material Sciences (iCeMS) and Dr. Kazuo Nagasawa at TUAT’s faculty of engineering, has demonstrated a novel mechanism of action by which Vitamin D and specific analogs can regulate SREBP pathways as recently published in the February 16, 2017 issue of Cell Chemical Biology,” said FGH.

“Growing evidence has supported an association of Vitamin D levels and metabolic disease, including fatty liver.

“Importantly, this publication now reveals the molecular mechanism demonstrating how vitamin D influences fat and energy metabolism.”

FGH chairman Dr. Salih Wakil said: “This agreement with KU and TUAT solidifies our dominant position in SREBP regulation, and enables the development and commercialization of natural and synthetic vitamin D analogs for the treatment of widespread human diseases related to obesity and cancer.

“With our partners, we are designing and testing naturally occurring and synthetic variants of these molecules for disease modifying activity.”

FGH core technology was discovered by Dr. Salih Wakil and Dr. Lutfi Abu-Elheiga at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) in Houston, Texas together with Dr. Uesugi of KU, and licensed to FGH.

“The agreement enables FGH to benefit from ongoing work with these leading Japanese academic institutions, and KU and TUAT will benefit from FGH’s aggressive commercialization strategies,” added FGH.