Deal covers two preclinical Orexo programs and an undisclosed target.

Orexo will receive research funding of $10 million up front as part of a collaboration and licensing arrangment with Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Janssen Pharmaceutical, collectively known as OMJ, focused on respiratory diseases. The three-year partnership is centered on Orexo’s arachidonic acid-based advanced preclinical programs, OX-CLI and OX-ESI.

These programs are focused on the discovery and development of small molecule drugs against asthma, COPD, and other inflammatory diseases. OMJ will add a third, internal project to the partnership, focused on an undisclosed target.

Orexo says that it could receive up to $21.5 million in research funding from its partners over the first three years, and there is in an option to extend the alliance. Successful development and commercialization of all three projects will trigger milestones totaling $564 million plus royalties and additional sales milestones.

OMJ will have responsibility for all clinical development and commercialization activities as well as costs associated with the three programs. Orexo retains an option to co-promote resulting drugs in Nordic and Baltic territories.

Orexo is focused on the development of treatments for pain and inflammation and has four products on the market. The firm’s lead commercial product is Abstral™, a fentanyl-based therapy for the management of breakthrough cancer pain. Abstral was developed using Orexo’s sublingual tablet technology. The drug has been launched in most of Europe, and regulatory submissions in the U.S. and Canada were filed last year by partner, ProStrakan. In Japan the treatment has been submitted for approval by Kyowa Hakko Kirin.

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