Astellas options global R&D rights to University of Texas leukemia candidate

Astellas Pharma has optioned the rights to be the first to negotiate global exclusive research-and-development rights for a leukemia drug the University of Texas is set to test in early-stage trials in the United States. In return, Astellas is to provide $26 million in funding through two Phase I stages.

The drug dubbed "h8F4" is considered a novel treatment for acute myeloid leukemia and works by targeting a specific peptide in cancer cells, including stem cells.

Under the agreement, Astellas may exercise its option after completion of the Phase Ia and Ib studies, which are to be conducted by the university's MD Anderson Cancer Center.

- here's the release