Tiziana Life Sciences PLC (LON:TILS)(NASDAQ:TLSA) announced an agreement with Takanawa Japan for a strategic business development plan to identify a clinical partner in Japan and other Asian countries.

The pair are looking for a company to cooperate on further clinical development of Milciclib for treatment in advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients.

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HCC is the most common type of liver cancer and affects approximately 200,000 people per year, the AIM-listed firm said.

Previously, Tiziana successfully completed a Phase 2 clinical trial with orally administered Milciclib in sorafenib-resistant or intolerant HCC patients.

 The clinical data, presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology demonstrated that the treatment was well-tolerated and produced clinical activity.

Recently, a patent covering the use of Milciclib in combination with a tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) or other drugs was granted, providing complete freedom to further develop a combination of Milciclib with an approved TKI for treatment of patients with advanced HCC or other cancers.

Because the prevalence of HCC in Asian countries is large and there are no satisfactory therapeutic options for treatment of advanced HCC in Asian countries, the strategic initiative with Takanawa is particularly important to further develop Milciclib for the treatment of advanced HCC patients, Tiziana said.

“We are pleased and excited to work with Takanawa, a firm with a distinguished history of business development activities in the Japanese pharmaceutical industry, to identify an appropriate partner in Japan for further clinical development of Milciclib,” said Dr. Kunwar Shailubhai, CEO and CSO of Tiziana.

Shares rose 4% to 87p on Wednesday morning.

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