Japan’s Shionogi Sells Coronavirus Drug Rights to U.S. Biotech BioAge

TOKYO (Reuters) -

Japanese drugmaker Shionogi & Co said on Tuesday it has sold the development and marketing rights for a COVID-19 treatment to California-based biotech BioAge Labs Inc.

The Japanese drugmaker said in a statement that it had discovered the drug, known as BGE-175, which was under development to treat allergic rhinitis.

BioAge will have exclusive rights to BGE-175 for the treatment of COVID-19 in the United States and Europe in exchange for an upfront payment as well as milestones and royalties.

The U.S. biotech plans to start a Phase II trial of the drug for COVID-19 in the first half of 2021.

Shionogi is also developing a recombinant protein vaccine for COVID-19 that is now in combined Phase I and II trials in Japan.

The company is betting on a proven platform to help it become Japan’s biggest home-grown COVID-19 vaccine producer.