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Akebia, Otsuka partner to develop anemia drug

Akebia Therapeutics Inc. and Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. entered a collaboration and license agreement in the U.S. for vadadustat, which is currently in development for the treatment of anemia associated with chronic kidney disease.

The collaboration provides capital for the global development program for vadadustat, and commercial resources for a U.S. launch of the drug upon approval by the U.S. FDA.

Under the agreement, Akebia will receive $265 million in committed funds plus development and commercial milestones, representing a total transaction value that could exceed $1 billion. The companies plan to contribute equally to commercialization efforts and share equally all costs and revenue in the U.S.

Otsuka will pay $125 million to Akebia upon signing the deal and about $35 million in the first quarter of 2017. Otsuka will also pay $105 million or more of the costs of the global development program for the drug, along with potential development and commercial milestones up to $765 million.

Akebia will continue to lead the ongoing global phase 3 development program for vadadustat.

In addition to the collaboration with Otsuka, Akebia has established a collaboration with Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corp. for the development and commercialization of vadadustat in Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Indonesia, India and other Asian countries. For other geographies, including the EU, Akebia is in talks with multiple parties regarding a potential collaboration.