Wanbang Biopharmaceutical will commercialize Rockwell Medical’s Triferic® and Calcitriol treatments in China, under an exclusive license agreement.

The agreement was disclosed today by Rockwell, which could generate up to $39 million in upfront and milestone payments from Wanbang. Rockwell will receive ongoing earnings from product sales of Triferic and Calcitriol, and other additional Triferic therapeutic indications.

In return, Wanbang will become the exclusive distributor for Triferic and Calcitriol in China for an initial term of 10 years, with an extended term of 10 or more years based on achieving undisclosed annual minimum purchase requirements. Rockwell added that it retains manufacturing responsibility of all products.

Triferic and Calcitriol are both indicated for end stage renal disease patients. Triferic is Rockwell’s iron replacement and hemoglobin maintenance drug for treating anemia, while Calcitriol is Rockwell’s generic (active vitamin D) injection for treating secondary hyperparathyroidism in dialysis patients.

In addition to the hemodialysis indication, Wanbang has the exclusive right to develop and commercialize Triferic for new therapeutic indications for China. Wanbang agreed to oversee all clinical, regulatory, and marketing expenses for Triferic and Calcitriol in China as well as development and regulatory costs for the new Triferic indications.

“China has been a top priority in our global Triferic licensing strategy, and this agreement further validates Triferic’s potential for becoming the world-wide standard of care in iron maintenance therapy for the treatment of anemia,” Robert L. Chioini, Rockwell’s founder, chairman, and CEO said in a statement.

He added that the agreement with Wanbang will enable Rockwell to enter into and capitalize on what is projected to become the world’s largest dialysis market. According to Rockwell, about 300,000 dialysis patients now receive hemodialysis in China—a market that is expected to double over the next few years.

Wanbang, a subsidiary of publicly traded Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical (Group) Company, is a key supplier of biosimilar erythropoiesis stimulating agent products and other drugs in the renal space. Fosun Pharma is part of the Fosun Group, China’s leading non-state-owned enterprise group, and a major shareholder in China’s largest drug distributor, Sino Pharma.

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