December 20, 2016 / 2:45 PM / in 7 months

Akebia sells rights to anemia drug to Japan's Otsuka

2 Min Read

Dec 20 (Reuters) - Drug developer Akebia Therapeutics Inc said on Tuesday it had signed a co-development and marketing deal worth up to $1 billion with Japan's Otsuka Holdings Co Ltd.

Akebia said the deal would give it the funds needed to develop vadadustat, its experimental drug to treat anemia associated with chronic kidney disease.

The drug is in late-stage trials.

Akebia's shares were up 17.1 percent at $9.78 in early trading. Up to Monday's close, the stock had lost more than a third of its value.

Akebia will get $265 million in upfront payments and will be eligible for milestone payments that could raise the deal value to more than $1 billion.

The companies will share the cost of selling the drug if and when it gets approved in the United States, Akebia said.

The deal is Akebia's second for vadadustat.

The company earlier signed an agreement with Japan's Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corp for sales in Asia including Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Indonesia and India.

Vadadustat is the most-developed drug in Akebia's pipeline.

The company is also testing an experimental compound, AKB-6899, in early-stage studies for its potential use in oncology and ophthalmology. (Reporting by Vidya L Nathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Ted Kerr)

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