Hyderabad-based Dr. Reddy's Laboratories has signed a licensing pact with the Japanese pharma company, Eisai Co. Ltd for exclusive worldwide (excluding Japan and Asia) development and commercialisation for Eisai's investigational anticancer agent, E7777.

Dr. Reddy's informed the Bombay Stock Exchange(BSE) in a filing that Eisai will be responsible for distribution and marketing of E7777 in Japan and Asia, while Dr. Reddy's holds the option for rights to develop and market the agent in India.

Without divulging the financial details of the deal, Dr. Reddy's said Eisai will receive milestone payments in line with obtaining marketing approval and the achievement of agreed upon sales targets. Through this agreement, the two companies aim to accelerate development and maximise the value of E7777, the filing said.

Dr. Reddy's is looking to extend its dermatology portfolio by entering into the skin-cancer space through this pact. "The collaboration between DRL and Eisai is a win-win. E7777 has significant potential as an important component of systemic therapy for CTCL (cutaneous T-cell lymphoma). This therapy represents an extension of our current efforts in the dermatology space to an important segment of skin-related cancers," Raghav Chari, the Executive Vice-President, Proprietary Products Group, Dr Reddy's, said.

Eisai said the agreement would enable its oncology services to reach people as soon as possible. "Eisai and Dr Reddy's will conduct development in their respective territories. We hope to launch treatments that will fulfill the diverse needs of and bring about benefits for patients with cancer and their families,'' Terushige Iike, the Chief Product Creation Officer of Eisai Product Creation Systems, Eisai, said.

E7777, a fusion protein, is currently in the clinical trials for treatment of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma or peripheral T-cell lymphoma that begins in the white blood cells and attacks the skin. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) has granted an orphan drug status to the E7777. An orphan drug is used to treat a rare medical condition.

The stocks of Dr. Reddy's were trading at Rs 3015, up by 0.06 percent from its previous close at 2.57 p.m on BSE.