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Akebia Up on Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Deal for Vadadustat

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Akebia Therapeutics, Inc.AKBA gained 7.1% after the company announced that it has entered into a development and commercialization agreement with Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation for its lead candidate, vadadustat (formerly AKB-6548), for the treatment of anemia related to chronic kidney disease (CKD) in Japan and certain other countries in Asia.

As per the terms of the agreement, Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma will make payments totaling $100 million for costs associated with the global phase III program on vadadustat, including an upfront payment of $40 million. Apart from that, Akebia is eligible to receive milestone payments of up to approximately $250 million, based upon the achievement of certain development and sales targets. Akebia will also receive tiered royalty payments between the low teens and 20% on sales of vadadustat in Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Indonesia, India and other Asian countries.

We note that earlier this year, Akebia had reported positive top-line data from a phase II study on Vadadustat. The study met its primary endpoint maintaining stable hemoglobin levels over 16 weeks of treatment. Vadadustat also demonstrated a favorable safety profile and was generally well tolerated.

As per company sources, CKD affects approximately 30 million people in the U.S., out of which an estimated 1.8 million suffer from anemia. Currently prescribed treatments for anemia associated with CKD include AMAG Pharmaceuticals' AMAG Feraheme among others.

Apart from dialysis patients with anemia related to CKD, the company is evaluating vadadustat for the treatment of anemia related to CKD in non-dialysis patients.

Akebia currently has no approved products in its portfolio. We expect investor focus to remain on vadadustat going forward, it being the company's lead pipeline candidate.

Akebia currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). A couple of better-ranked stocks in the health care sector are Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ACHN and Corcept Therapeutics Incorporated CORT , both sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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