Swiss research-driven specialty biopharmaceutical group Ferring Pharmaceuticals and Swedish biotech Albireo have signed a license agreement under which Ferring has rights to develop and commercialize elobixibat, a first-in-class compound for chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC) and irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C).
The agreement gives Ferring rights to market elobixibat globally with the exception of Japan and a small number of Asian markets. In consideration of the rights, Ferring will pay Albireo a significant upfront undisclosed licensing fee, milestones and tiered double-digit royalties. Ferring will also be responsible for development costs in its territory.
The agreement is one of the biggest investments made by Ferring for licensing rights of a product. Ferring believes that the novel therapy elobixibat, which is targeting a currently under-served, but large patient population, will significantly strengthen its gastroenterology portfolio. Elobixibat is due to enter phase III trials for the CIC indication and phase IIB trials for the IBS-C indication shortly.
"Elobixibat perfectly complements our gastroenterology portfolio, which includes Pentasa for IBD and Picoprep for bowel cleansing. We also have several promising products in our pipeline within gastroenterology," said Michel Pettigrew, president of the executive board and COO at Ferring. "It fits well with our company philosophy of ‘People Come First’—in particular the patient, as it addresses a problem that affects from 15% up to almost a third of the population, but that has seen little progress in treatment options over the years."
Jan Mattsson, executive director of the board and COO of Albireo, added, "We are excited to enter into this agreement and look forward to collaborating with Ferring to bring this novel therapy to patients around the world suffering from CIC or IBS-C. Ferring has a long and strong track record in gastroenterology and we believe will be an ideal partner for Albireo and elobixibat in this territory."