AstraZeneca has entered into a licensing agreement with Ironwood Pharmaceuticals for the exclusive US rights to Zurampic (lesinurad).
Zurampic was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in December 2015, in combination with a xanthine oxidase inhibitor (XOI), for the treatment of hyperuricemia associated with uncontrolled gout. Under the terms of the agreement, Ironwood will acquire exclusive US rights to Zurampic. In addition, Ironwood will gain the exclusive US rights to the fixed-dose combination of lesinurad and allopurinol. AstraZeneca plans to submit the fixed-dose combination programme for regulatory review in the second half of 2016. Ironwood will pay AstraZeneca sales-related and other milestone payments of up to $265 million and tiered single-digit royalties on Product Sales. AstraZeneca will manufacture and supply Zurampic, provide certain support and services to Ironwood and undertake the FDA post-approval commitment on their behalf.
“We’re pleased to be entering into this agreement with Ironwood, a company with whom we already have a number of successful commercial partnerships. Our new agreement with Ironwood will ensure the successful launch of Zurampic in the US, while allowing us to concentrate our resources on the innovative medicines in our main therapy areas,” said Luke Miels, Executive Vice President, Global Product and Portfolio Strategy, AstraZeneca.
“This transaction enables Ironwood to leverage our strong commercial capabilities to advance a durable franchise of innovative medicines addressing a significant unmet need in which patients are highly motivated and seeking relief. With focused investment into the gout franchise over time, we believe we can maximize cash flows and accelerate our efforts to build a top-performing commercial biotechnology company,” said Tom McCourt, Chief Commercial Officer of Ironwood.
Gout is a serious, progressive and debilitating form of inflammatory arthritis. Approximately two million patients in the US on urate lowering therapy remain inadequately controlled, as XOI treatment alone is not sufficient to achieve their treatment goals.
The development of AstraZeneca’s gout portfolio is led by Ardea Biosciences, a wholly owned subsidiary. The transaction does not include the transfer of any AstraZeneca or Ardea employees or facilities. AstraZeneca also retains the rights to the rest of the Ardea portfolio, including RDEA3170, a Phase IIb ready, potent selective uric acid reabsorption inhibitor. Under the terms of the agreement, Ironwood will have certain rights to potentially access RDEA3170 in gout indications in the US. The licensing agreement is expected to close in the second quarter of 2016, subject to antitrust approval in the US.