16 July 2015Asia

AstraZeneca agrees $45m 'option' deal for asthma drug

AstraZeneca has agreed a deal with drug maker Kyowa Hakko Kirin giving the UK pharmaceutical company the option to commercialise an asthma treatment in Japan.

As part of any final agreement, AstraZeneca will pay Kyowa an up-front fee of $45 million and make subsequent payments for meeting commercial milestones. Royalties will also be payable.

The deal centres on benralizumab, an antibody used to treat asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Kyowa holds exclusive development and commercialisation rights for benralizumab in Japan and certain countries in Asia, while AstraZeneca has exclusive rights in all other countries including the US and those in Europe.

Under the new deal Kyowa will continue to be responsible for the research and development of the drug in Japan but AstraZeneca will be responsible for all sales and marketing in the country.

But according to AstraZeneca, Kyowa will retain the rights to participate in “certain commercial activities” alongside AstraZeneca.

The drug is currently in-licensed from BioWa, a subsidiary of Kyowa.

Marc Dunoyer, chief financial officer at AstraZeneca, said: “Japan is the second largest pharmaceutical market in the world and one of our growth platforms.

“The agreement increases our focus on respiratory diseases, a main therapy area for AstraZeneca, and provides the opportunity to bring an innovative potential medicine to patients in Japan who are waiting for new treatment options.”

Masashi Miyamoto, executive officer at Kyowa, said: “Through this new agreement, we will be able to maximise the medical benefits that this innovative new drug could bring to patients in Japan.”

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