US-based Lixte Biotechnology Holdings has granted an exclusive licence of its lead anti-cancer compound, LB-100, to Taipei Medical University (TMU).

The compound will be used to develop new treatments for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common type of liver cancer in Asia.

LB-100 is currently not approved for the treatment of HCC, which is the fifth most common cancer and third most common cause of cancer deaths worldwide, with the majority of deaths in Asia.

TMU will determine the effectiveness of LB-100 against HCC in clinical trials conducted in compliance with both Taiwanese and American regulatory requirements.

According to the World Cancer Research Fund International, 782,000 new cases of HCC were diagnosed in 2012 globally.

The National Cancer Institute noted in the US, there are 35,000 new cases and 24,000 deaths from HCC annually.

"The compound will be used to develop new treatments for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC)."

Lixte founder John Kovach said: "LB-100 is a novel small molecule that in pre-clinical studies has activity against a number of different cancer types alone and, most prominently, in combination with cytotoxic drugs, including some known to be active against hepatocellular carcinoma.

"We welcome an opportunity to work with an outstanding group of investigators in Taiwan to assess the value of LB-100 against this all-too-common and devastating cancer."

Under the deal, TMU will offer milestone and royalty payments to Lixte.

The company’s phosphatase inhibitor, LB-100, is currently in a Phase I clinical trial at two NCI designated comprehensive cancer centres and three US oncology research sites.

Lixte uses biomarker technology to identify enzyme targets associated with serious common diseases and design new compounds to attack those targets.

The company’s product pipeline includes two major categories of compounds at various stages of pre-clinical and clinical development that it believes have broad therapeutic potential for cancer, as well as other debilitating and life-threatening diseases.

Image: An intermediate magnification micrograph of hepatocellular carcinoma, which is the most common form of primary liver cancer. Photo: courtesy of Nephron.