Ironwood inks $345M partnership on anti-anxiety drug program

Cambridge, MA-based Ironwood Pharmaceuticals ($IRWD) is partnering with Australia's Bionomics to develop an experimental anti-anxiety drug. Bionomics gets a $16 million near-term deal--$3 million upfront and the rest over 24 months--in the pact. And the biotech stands to gain up to $345 million plus royalties from Ironwood for a successful program.

The focus of the deal is on BNC210, which has ginned some positive Phase I data on anti-anxiety activity without the sedative side effects often linked to benzodiazepines, a class of drugs now used to treat anxiety. The deal marks a new stage for Ironwood, which has been closely focused on the development of linaclotide, a potential IBS blockbuster now up for review by the FDA. The decision on that program is due by June.

"Partnering BNC210 has been a major objective for Bionomics, and this collaboration with Ironwood continues Bionomics' strategy to form partnerships to develop and commercialize its proprietary drug candidates," said Deborah Rathjen, Bionomics CEO.

- here's the press release