Sucampo Pharmaceuticals’ (SPI) subsidiary Sucampo AG received a $15 million milestone payment from Abbott’s subsidiary, Abbott Japan, in accordance with an existing license, commercialization, and supply agreement from 2009 between Sucampo Pharma, SPI’s subsidiary, and Abbott. The milestone payment was triggered by the first sale of Amitiza® (lubiprostone) capsule 24 μg in Japan. Amitiza is available through Abbott in Japan as a prescription medication for chronic constipation not caused by organic diseases, and was launched to primary care and specialist physicians on November 21, 2012.

Amitiza is currently the first and only prescription medicine available in Japan for chronic constipation.

“For years, millions of patients in Japan have been suffering from chronic constipation,” said Sucampo’s chairman, CEO, and CSO Ryuji Ueno, M.D., Ph.D. “Until the approval of AMITIZA, there had been no new chemical entity developed for chronic constipation in Japan in 32 years.”

Amitiza (lubiprostone) is a prostone, a local activator of ClC-2 chloride channels in cells lining the small intestine. By increasing intestinal fluid secretion, lubiprostone softens stools and increases motility in the intestine, thereby facilitating the passage of stool and alleviating symptoms associated with chronic constipation. Additionally, activation of ClC-2 by lubiprostone has been shown to stimulate recovery of mucosal barrier function via the restoration of tight junction protein complexes in ex vivo studies of ischemic porcine intestine.

Outside Japan, Amitiza is approved in the United States for the treatment of chronic idiopathic constipation in adults (24 mcg twice daily) and irritable bowel syndrome with constipation in women 18 years of age and older (8 mcg twice daily). Amitiza is also approved for chronic idiopathic constipation in Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

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