AstraZeneca gains rights to gastrointestinal drug in Chinese market

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AstraZeneca is bolstering its presence in China.

It amended itscollaboration agreementwith Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in China mainland, China Hong Kong and China Macau forLinzess (linaclotide), a new treatment for patients with irritable bowel syndrome with constipation.

The condition is characterized by symptoms of abdominal pain and constipation, is a chronic and prevalent functional gastrointestinal disorder in China with few treatment options.

The amended agreement gives AstraZeneca sole responsibility for developing, manufacturing and commercializingLinzessin China mainland, China Hong Kong and China Macau. Ironwood will no longer be involved in the research and development or the commercialisation ofLinzess; it will also transfer manufacturing responsibility to AstraZeneca.

The two companies first entered into a collaboration to co-develop and co-commercialiseLinzessin 2012. Under the original collaboration agreement, AstraZeneca and Ironwood were jointly responsible for strategic oversight of the development and commercialization ofLinzessin China, while AstraZeneca had primary responsibility for local operational execution.

Linzesswasapprovedby the National Medical Products Administration for adults with IBS-C in January 2019 in China.

Leon Wang, Executive vice president, international and president of AstraZeneca China, said: “Linzessis an important new treatment for this type of IBS in China, where there is a specific high unmet medical need. Today’s amended agreement allows us to bring this innovative medicine to patients more efficiently and will contribute further to our strong growth in this significant market.”

Mark Mallon, CEO of Ironwood, said: “AstraZeneca has substantial experience and capabilities in developing and commercializing medicines in China. There are approximately 14 million adults suffering from IBS-C in China alone and we believe AstraZeneca is well-positioned to bringLinzessto these patients.”

AstraZeneca will pay Ironwood three non-contingent payments, totalling $35 minion , between 2021 and 2024. In addition, Ironwood could receive up to $90 million in milestone payments, contingent on the achievement of certain sales targets. Ironwood will also be eligible for royalties beginning in the mid-single-digit percent, based on the annual net sales.

AstraZeneca employs 1,500 in Delaware.

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