A fresh set of promising Phase IIa data for its lead therapy helped Irving, TX-based Reata Pharmaceuticals score a $272 million licensing pact with Kyowa Hakko Kirin covering Japan and a slate of key Pacific Rim countries. The collaboration on bardoxolone calls for $35 million of that to arrive as an upfront payment with $97 million in development milestones, $140 million in sales milestones and escalating double-digit royalties.
Reata CEO Warren Huff says the deal adds to the $17 million the developer gained in the first tranche of its $80 million Series G last fall and lays out a clear path pointing toward a potential 2011 approval for bardoxolone, an experimental drug that has demonstrated improved kidney function in patients with advanced chronic kidney disease. "The renal field is one of three strategic focuses of the company," says Ken Yamazumi, Ph.D., COO of Kyowa Hakko Kirin. "CKD is a large and rapidly growing problem in Japan and the rest of Asia, and the Phase II data with bardoxolone suggests for the first time that a drug may be able to arrest or reverse progression of the disease."
"Our strategy is to go all the way," Reata CEO Warren Huff tells FierceBiotech, "keep a substantial interest and make the transition to a commercial enterprise. That drove the interest in an Asia-only deal." From here the company could strike another offshore pact or possibly a co-promotion arrangement in the U.S.
In the meantime, Reata has launched a Phase IIb trial of bardoxolone with more than 200 patients suffering from Type 2 diabetes and advanced CKD that should deliver six-month data in June and 12-month data by the end of the year. We'll have more on Reata's plans Monday in our Emerging Drug Developer profile.
- here's Reata's release for more information