Menarini Asia-Pacific has entered a long-term exclusive agreement to license Astellas Pharma’s Smyraf to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

Available as 50mg and 100mg tablets, Smyraf is currently marketed by Astellas in Japan.

The oral Janus kinase inhibitor prevents structural joint damage due to rheumatoid arthritis in patients who had an inadequate response to conventional treatments.

As per the deal, Menarini will gain access to develop, produce and commercialise Smyraf in Taiwan.

Menarini will make upfront and milestone payments of up to €5.5m ($5.9m) to Astellas, which is entitled to further receive high-single-digit percentage royalties on net sales of Smyraf.

Menarini also has an option to extend the rights to select markets in South East Asia.

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Menarini Asia-Pacific CEO Maurizio Luongo said: “Menarini has a long history as the partner of choice for many biopharmaceutical companies across the Asia-Pacific region and we are excited that Astellas has trusted Menarini to promote and commercialise Smyraf.

“Patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis often need different options if the treatment target is not achieved.

“With proven efficacy and flexible dosing benefits, Smyraf will play an important role in this regard.”

In February this year, Menarini Group and Karyopharm Therapeutic received complete marketing authorisation for Nexpovio, along with bortezomib and dexamethasone to treat multiple myeloma.

The approval was granted by the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.