Japan's Astellas Pharma and U.S.-based Ilypsa have entered into an agreement that gives Astellas exclusive rights to develop and market the hyperphosphatemia drug ILY101 in Japan. Hyperphosphatemia is associated with abnormally high blood concentrations of phosphorus, and occurs in many patients with renal insufficiency, especially those on dialysis.

ILY101 is a non-absorbed, metal-free polymer that binds phosphorus in the gastrointestinal tract, allowing for the excretion of phosphorus. It has been shown to treat hyperphosphatemia by reducing the absorption of phosphorus from the gastrointestinal tract.

"We are delighted to enter into partnership with Ilypsa on ILY101,"said Toichi Takenaka, president and CEO of Astellas. "ILY101, with its unique profile, is an important addition to our product portfolio in the ethical pharmaceutical business in Japan."

Under the agreement, Astellas will pay Ilypsa a total of $92 million, including an upfront payment of $22 million, as well as royalties in the mid-teen range on future sales of the drug in Japan. A Phase I clinical trial for the drug will begin in Japan this year, the companies reported.