02 Oct 2012, BioSpectrum Bureau , BioSpectrum
Singapore: Astellas Pharma signed a license agreement with Janssen Biotech under which Janssen has an exclusive right to develop and commercialize ASP015K, an Astellas compound, worldwide except for Japan.
ASP015K is a novel oral Janus Kinase (JAK) inhibitor that Astellas is developing for rheumatoid arthritis. In a six-week phase-IIa proof-of-concept study of patients with psoriasis, ASP015K was well tolerated and demonstrated dose-dependent improvements in Psoriasis Areas Severity Index (PASI) change from baseline. Astellas is currently conducting three phase-IIb studies in patients with rheumatoid arthritis in the US and Europe, and in Japan.
In return for the exclusive license to develop and commercialize ASP015K outside Japan, Astellas is entitled to receive an up-front payment of $65 million from Janssen. Astellas is also eligible to receive contingent milestone payments upon the achievement of certain development, regulatory and commercial milestones, which could total up to $880 million. Astellas is further entitled to receive double-digit royalty payments on net sales of ASP015K from Janssen. After completion of the phase IIb studies, Janssen is responsible for all future costs associated with the development and commercialization of ASP015K for rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune indications. Astellas will continue development and commercialization of ASP015K in Japan.
Astellas believes this transaction will maximize the value of ASP015K through the collaboration with Janssen which has a strong track record in the development and commercialization of leading products in the field of autoimmune diseases. It also strengthens our commitment to maximizing the enterprise value through optimization of R&D resources.