Abbott Laboratories has announced an exclusive rights deal to develop and commercialise the kidney disease drug bardoxolone in Asian markets.

The $450m acquisition from Reata Pharmaceuticals will see the drug, currently undergoing Phase II clinical trials as a chronic kidney disease treatment, operate outside of the US.

Abbott will also gain a minority equity investment in Reata, and additional milestone payments will be made upon development and approval procedures.

John Leonard, Abbott senior vice-president of pharmaceuticals research and development, said that early clinical studies have suggested that bardoxolone could be a significant improvement on current chronic kidney disease treatments, and that the acquisition would strengthen the company’s existing experience in renal care.