Otsuka gobbles up more global rights for Akebia’s vadadustat, chipping in to a pot now worth $2B-plus

Late last year Otsuka stepped in with a deal worth more than a billion dollars to partner with Akebia on its experimental anemia drug vadadustat in the US market. But the pact evidently only whetted its appetite for more.

In a deal extension announced after the market closed on Tuesday, Otsuka came back to grab Europe, China, Russia and much of the rest of the world, paying another $208 million in committed capital covering $73 million upfront and $135 million to cover development costs. There’s also $657 million in potential milestones.

John Butler, Akebia

Otsuka, which clearly believes it’s linking on to a winner, added a 30% royalty — marking a rich payout for its partner, if the drug is approved.

The market loved these figures, with investors driving up Cambridge, MA-based Akebia’s stock by 28% in after-market trading.

Looking to partner up on the US market last December, Otsuka came in with $265 million in committed cash, including $125 million as an upfront payment with another $35 million due in early 2017 with over $105 million to help cover development costs and milestones reaching up to $765 million. Add in Akebia’s deal with Mitsubishi Tanabe for a group of Asian countries and the deal packages on this drug are worth more than $2 billion.

Committed funding for the drug — battling it out with a rival drug from FibroGen — has now hit $573 million.

Said John Butler, Akebia’s CEO:

We now have a single, strong collaborator for the two largest markets, the U.S. and Europe. This simplifies governance and decision making, maximising the efficiency of our global Phase 3 development programme and ultimately the commercialization of vadadustat. We are able to accomplish this while obtaining substantial funding for our vadadustat development programme and retaining significant long-term value for Akebia.

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Research Scientist - Immunology
Recursion Pharmaceuticals Salt Lake City, UT
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Atlas Venture Cambridge, MA

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