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Salix licenses Progenics' Relistor

Salix Pharmaceuticals has licensed worldwide rights excluding Japan to the opioid-induced constipation drug Relistor from Progenics Pharmaceuticals

Salix Pharmaceuticals has licensed worldwide rights excluding Japan to the opioid-induced constipation drug Relistor (methylnaltrexone bromide) from Progenics Pharmaceuticals.

The subcutaneous injection, which was approved in the US and Europe in 2008, is indicated for the treatment of opioid-induced constipation (OIC) in patients with advanced illness who are receiving palliative care and have not responded sufficiently to laxative therapy. 

The drug is approved for marketing in more than 50 countries and had worldwide sales of $16m in 2010. The investment bank Cowen and Co. has forecast that sales could reach $90m by 2012.

Progenics originally developed Relistor through a partnership with Wyeth before that company merged with Pfizer. However, in October 2009, Wyeth returned the rights to the drug to Progenics in a deal that included six payments of $10m each to be made by Wyeth to the smaller firm to cover costs associated with the transition. Responsibility for the drug will now transfer to Salix from Pfizer in April.

Salix will pay Progenics $60m upfront for the rights, as well as potential US regulatory milestone payments of up to $90m and sales-based milestones of up to $200m. Progenics is also entitled to royalties on product sales in the US and 60 percent of revenue received from non-US sublicensees.

Salix will fund all development, registration and commercialisation activities for Relistor, except in Japan, where Progenics has licensed the drug to Ono Pharmaceuticals. Development activities include ongoing phase III studies of an oral formulation of the drug for OIC in patients with chronic, non-cancer pain, a market that Progenics believes will be much larger than the current one.

Salix, which specialises in gastroenterology products, plans to market the drug itself in the US through its speciality sales force and to sublicense the product to regional companies in other markets.

8th February 2011

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