Endo and Orion ink oncology R&D deal

Endo Pharmaceuticals and Finland's Orion Corporation have agreed to co-develop a pipeline of oncology drugs. The two companies will collaborate on eight discovery-stage candidates--four from Endo and four from Orion--and share all development costs. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

Orion will have marketing rights in Europe, including Russia, while Endo will retain marketing rights for North America. The companies will pay royalties to each other and decide how to handle rest of world territories after each oncology candidate completes Phase II trials. As its first move, Endo has licensed a novel androgen-receptor antagonist for advanced prostate cancer from Orion. Both companies will develop the drug, which is slated for Phase I trials in the near future.

"This alliance marks another milestone in the transformation of Endo's R&D platform," said Endo R&D executive Ivan Gergel. "This type of collaboration fits well  into our new, efficient and effective virtual R&D model." Added Dr. Reijo Salonen, senior vice president of Orion R&D: "The agreement is...perfectly in line with Orion's R&D strategy to focus on risk-sharing partnerships." At the 2011 JP Morgan conference Endo CEO David Holveck noted that his company is looking to acquire new assets in the cancer and urology diagnostics space.

- check out Endo's release