The US National Institutes of Health has licensed rights to the drug cyclodextrin to Vtesse, a small biotech startup, to develop it as a treatment for Niemann-Pick Type C disease, reports Amy Dockser Marcus at the Wall Street Journal.
The drug emerged from an effort to develop drugs for rare and neglected diseases at the agency's National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, which has been focusing on shepherding basic discoveries into the clinic since its inception in late 2011. NCATS had a rocky start as its creation required the shuffling of other NIH programs and as some researchers questioned the new center's drug development bent.
"The primary outcome here is very unusual for most NIH projects because it is not a paper or a publication, it is a license," NCATS Director Christopher Austin tells the Journal.
Cyclodextrin, Marcus adds, is made by Janssen Research & Development, which is part of Johnson & Johnson.