- Akebia Therapeutics agreed to a potentially $350 million deal with Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma, in which Mitsubishi will license Akebia's phase 3 anemia drug, vadadustat, for the Asian market.
- Vadadustat was developed to increase red blood cell and hemoglobin production by mimicking the body's response to high altitudes.
- Fibrogen is also developing an oral therapy in this space.
Mitsubishi will pay Akebia $40 million upfront to license vadadustat, and then subsequently contribute another $60 million towards the cost of the global phase 3 program for vadadustat. Akebia is eligible for an additional $250 million in milestone payments related to R&D and sales benchmark. Mitsubishi will make royalty payments ranging from the low-teens to 20% on sales of vadadustat in Asian markets.
Akebia and Fibrogen both hope to expand their drugs' labels to include CKD patients, including dialysis patients. Approval of either companies' drug bodes well for patients, as the current treatment, Epogen, is injectable and therefore less convenient than an oral pill-form medication.