AstraZeneca to pay Rigel up to US$1.25bn in arthritis agreement

AstraZeneca is to make an upfront payment of US$100m to Rigel Pharmaceuticals in an exclusive license agreement to develop fostamatinib disodium (R788), Rigel's late-stage investigational product for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

AstraZeneca is to make an upfront payment of US$100m to Rigel Pharmaceuticals in an exclusive license agreement to develop fostamatinib disodium (R788), Rigel's late-stage investigational product for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

The Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical firm said an additional US$345m would be payable if specified development, regulatory and first commercial sale milestones are achieved. Rigel, based in San Francisco, US, will also be eligible to receive up to an additional US$800m of milestone payments if the product achieves commercial success, as well as significant "stepped" double-digit royalties on net sales worldwide.

In return, AstraZeneca gains the rights to R788, which has completed a Phase II trial and is the furthest developed oral Spleen Tyrosine Kinase (Syk) inhibitor being evaluated for RA.

The RA market was estimated to be worth approximately US$13bn globally in 2009, having grown from US$1.3bn in 1998.

AstraZeneca is designing a Phase III trial to begin in the second half of 2010, with the aim of filing new drug applications with the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency in 2013.




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