Ironwood Gets $75M Deal From Astellas to Market Bowel Drug in Asia

Xconomy Boston — 

[Update: 10:42 am Eastern, 11/10/09] Cambridge, MA-based Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, the developer of a treatment for chronic constipation and irritable bowel syndrome, has formed a partnership with Japan-based Astellas Pharma to market the drug in Japan and certain other countries in Asia.

Ironwood will get $75 million in upfront and pre-commercial milestone payments as well as escalating royalties on sales in the territories where Astellas markets the company’s drug, linaclotide. Astellas will get exclusive rights to develop and market the product in Japan, Indonesia, the Philippines, Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand.

The new deal in Japan and Asia means that Ironwood now has three different partners for the linaclotide program around the world. New York-based Forest Laboratories (NYSE: FRX) gets a 50-50 split of the U.S. rights, while Spain-based Laboratorios Almirall has the European rights and pays an escalating royalty to Ironwood that could be worth half of the drug’s value there over time, Ironwood has said.

Last week the drug passed a pair of pivotal clinical trials that enrolled more than 1,200 patients with chronic constipation. Results from two more trials of 1,600 patients with irritable bowel syndrome are expected by the second half of 2010.

[Update: 10:42 am Eastern, 11/10/09] Separately, Ironwood announced today that its European partner, Laboratorios Almirall, has made a $15 million equity investment in the company. The investment is part of the partnership the two companies announced in May.

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