Microbia, Forest Laboratories Announce Linaclotide Collaboration

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Microbia and Forest Laboratories have entered into a partnership in the U.S. to codevelop and comarket Microbia’s compound linaclotide for the treatment of constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome, chronic constipation and other gastrointestinal disorders.

Under the terms of the agreement, Forest initially will pay Microbia $70 million in licensing fees. Microbia and Forest will fund development and commercialization of linaclotide in the U.S., sharing profits equally. Forest will have exclusive rights in Canada and Mexico and will pay Microbia a royalty on sales in these countries, Microbia and Forest said.

Microbia retains all rights to the product outside of North America. Total licensing and milestone payments to Microbia if linaclotide is successfully developed and commercialized in the U.S. could total $330 million over the term of the collaboration, the companies added.

Linaclotide is undergoing Phase IIb clinical testing. The companies said they intend to initiate Phase III studies in the second half of 2008.