India’s Lupin and US firm Salix Pharmaceuticals have joined forces to develop and commercialise an extended-release version of rifaximin using Lupin’s proprietary bioadhesive technology.

As part of the deal Lupin has granted Salix the exclusive rights for the US to its bioadhesive drug delivery technology for use with rifaximin, a negligible systemic absorption antibiotic used for stomach complaints such as diarrhoea.

In return, Salix has made a $5m upfront payment and will make additional regulatory milestone payments to Lupin. In addition, Salix will pay royalties on net sales of the bioadhesive.

Salix president and CEO Carolyn Logan said that this novel delivery approach would provide a number of clinical advantages.

“This collaboration to develop and commercialise an extended-release formulation of rifaximin is a significant advancement in rifaximin’s lifecycle management strategy,” Logan said.

Rifaximin tablets 200mg, marketed by Salix, are approved in the US for the treatment of patients 12 years of age or older, with travellers’ diarrhoea caused by non-invasive strains of E. coli.