Teijin gains exclusive rights in Japan to growth hormone deficiency treatment

Will develop Somavaratan for the treatment of paediatric growth hormone deficiency

Japanese firm Teijin has signed an exclusive licensing and supply agreement with Versartis for the development and marketing of a long-acting form of recombinant growth hormone (rhGH), in Japan.

US-based Versartis is an endocrine-focused biotechnology firm developing Somavaratan for the treatment of growth hormone deficiency (GHD).

Versartis is currently conducting clinical trials of the drug in Japan for the indication of paediatric GHD (PGHD).

The firm will be responsible for completing and funding the Phase II/III trial already underway.

Teijin Pharma will be responsible for executing and funding regulatory and commercialisation activities for Somavaratan in Japan, in all indications including adult growth hormone deficiency (AGHD).

Symptoms of this condition include increased abdominal fat, reduced vitality and decreased concentration, and Turner's syndrome, a genetic condition caused by the complete or partial absence of one of the sex chromosomes.

Teijin will pay $40m upfront to Versartis and $100m or more in potential development, regulatory and sales milestones.

PGHD occurs when the pituitary gland does not produce sufficient growth hormone during childhood, resulting in symptoms such as dwarfism.

It is generally treated through growth hormone replacement therapy involving a daily injection which imposes heavy strains on patients.

Teijin Pharma estimates the market size of the existing growth hormone products in Japan for PGHD at Y60bn ($580m).

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