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Eisai, Minophagen Pharma conclude bexarotene licensing agreement

Tokyo
Tuesday, April 3, 2012, 09:00 Hrs  [IST]

Eisai Co., Ltd. , a global pharmaceutical company, and Minophagen Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., a research-based pharmaceutical enterprise, have concluded a license agreement concerning bexarotene (generic name), a treatment for cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL).

Under the terms of the agreement, Eisai shall grant Minophagen Pharmaceutical the exclusive rights to develop and commercialize bexarotene in Asia, Oceania, the Middle East and Eastern Europe, amongst other regions. However, Eisai retains the right of first negotiation for the commercialization of the agent in the licensed territories, if and when it is approved. In addition, Eisai will receive from Minophagen Pharmaceutical a one-time lump sum payment upon conclusion of the agreement as well as milestone payments and royalties on future sales.

Bexarotene was granted orphan drug status in the United States in 1999, and is currently approved and marketed as a treatment for recurrent and refractory CTCL in over 20 countries worldwide including the United States and those in Europe. Eisai obtained the exclusive worldwide rights to bexarotene when it acquired the agent from US-based Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc. in October 2006. Bexarotene is currently marketed in the United States by Eisai’s US subsidiary Eisai Inc. under the brand name Targretin. The exclusive rights to develop and commercialize the agent in Japan were granted to Minophagen Pharmaceutical by Eisai in March 2011.

CTCL is a type of cutaneous lymphoma that is characterized by the proliferation of T-cells in the skin. This type of lymphoma may reoccur in the same spot or spread to other parts of the body, progressing slowly over anywhere between a few years to a few decades, and is rarely associated with poor prognosis. Mycosis fungoides and Sézary syndrome are known as the two most common forms of CTCL. An extremely rare disease, CTCL affects between 16,000 and 20,000 patients in the United States, with approximately 1,500 new cases being diagnosed each year). Bexarotene is recommended as a treatment for CTCL in NCCN (National Comprehensive Cancer Network) and other major treatment guidelines in the United States and Europe.

With the conclusion of the agreement, Eisai and Minophagen Pharmaceutical will work closely together to provide bexarotene as a new treatment option as early as possible in order to help address the unmet medical needs of CTCL patients in Japan, Asia, Oceania, the Middle East and Eastern Europe, amongst other regions.

 

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