La Jolla Pharmaceutical Co., a business developing therapies for life-threatening diseases, and George Washington University announced that they have entered into an exclusive worldwide license agreement.

The agreement involves George Washington University intellectual property rights covering the use of angiotensin II for the therapeutic treatment of patients with hypotension and shock. La Jolla plans to initiate a phase 3 registration program of LJPC-501, La Jolla’s proprietary formulation of angiotensin II, in catecholamine-resistant hypotension (CRH) in the first quarter of 2015.

La Jolla is developing LJPC-501 for the treatment of CRH, which is an acute, life-threatening condition in which blood pressure drops to dangerously low levels and is poorly responsive to current treatments.

La Jolla is also developing LJPC-501 for hepatorenal syndrome, or HRS. HRS is a life-threatening form of progressive renal failure in patients with liver cirrhosis or fulminant liver failure. In these patients, the diseased liver secretes vasodilator substances into the bloodstream that cause under-filling of blood vessels. This low blood pressure state causes a reduction in blood flow to the kidneys. As a means to restore systemic blood pressure, the kidneys induce both sodium and water retention, which contribute to ascites, a major complication associated with HRS. Studies have shown that LJPC-501 may improve renal function in patients with conditions similar to HRS.

“We are very pleased to gain access to this additional intellectual property covering LJPC-501,” said George Tidmarsh, president and CEO of La Jolla Pharmaceutical Co. “The prognosis for patients suffering from CRH is very poor, with less than 50 percent of these patients surviving one month from diagnosis. We believe that LJPC-501 has the potential to reverse hypotension and, therefore, provide a significant benefit to these patients.”

La Jolla (Nasdaq: LJPC) is currently conducting a Phase 1/2 clinical trial of LJPC-501 in HRS, and, in August 2014, La Jolla enrolled its first patient in this trial. The Phase 1/2 clinical trial is currently enrolling patients.