US-based Arena Pharmaceuticals formed a development and commercialisation alliance with Chinese C-Bridge Capital-backed Everest Medicines for offering ralinepag and etrasimod in selected Asian countries.
Arena’s etrasimod is an oral, Phase II selective modulator of sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) receptors, and ralinepag is a Phase III-ready selective prostacyclin receptor agonist.
Etrasimod has the potential for use in autoimmune disorders, while ralinepag is being developed for pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH).
Under the agreement, Everest holds the exclusive rights to develop and commercialise the drug candidates in mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau and South Korea.
Arena is set to obtain an upfront payment of $12m, followed by up to $212m at various development and commercial milestones.
While the firms intend to jointly develop the investigational drugs, Everest will fund the process of development and commercialisation.
Arena Pharmaceuticals president and CEO Amit Munshi said: “With new regulations in place in China to expedite approvals, a significant opportunity for ralinepag and etrasimod exists in early synchronisation of development programmes.
“Based on their development and commercialisation expertise, as well as strategy for leveraging changes in the regulatory environment, we view Everest as the ideal partner to maximise the value of our drugs in the rapidly growing Chinese market.”
C-Bridge has invested $50m in Everest and formed a team to accelerate the product candidates towards approval and launch.
C-Bridge Capital CEO Fu Wei said: “Our strong belief in Everest’s capability to be the partner-of-choice for companies with innovative assets with large commercial potential in China is illustrated by our significant investment in Everest’s Series A round.”