Zosano inks Asian deal worth $32.5M-plus for drug patch tech

Zosano Pharma has revealed a potentially lucrative new use of its transdermal patch technology, through a deal with Asahi Kasei Pharma (AKP) to develop the Freemont, CA-based firm's patches for delivery of an osteoporosis medicine for certain Asian markets.

Tokyo-based AKP has paid $7.5 million to Zosano upfront in the deal, which includes $25 million in additional milestone payments. Zosano also gets reimbursed for R&D costs related to the program and the chance to reap more pay from royalties on potential sales of AKP's formulation of human parathyroid hormone (PTH), called Teribone, that is administered to patients with the venture-backed firm's patch tech.

The companies' work together is already under way. The two firms struck their development deal in February 2011, but the deal was kept quiet until this week, following the Sept. 26 approval in Japan of a subcutaneous injection form of AKP's Teribone for osteoporosis. AKP plans to start clinical development of the patch-delivery version of the osteoporosis drug in Japan in 2012.

This deal complements Zosano's previous work developing its patch to provide an alternative to needle injections of a bone-strengthening treatment for patients with osteoporosis, with a PTH program in its pipeline ready for Phase III, according to its website. For this and other markets, the patch is designed to enable patients to self-administer drugs without the pain of a needle injection. And the firm's AKP deal is the type of pact that developers of drug-delivery patches such as Intercell have been eager to land.

"AKP and Zosano have joined their world-class and complementary assets to create what we believe has the opportunity to be the best in class product for bone growth in severe osteoporosis patients," Gail Schulze, Zosano's CEO (and one of Fierce's 2010 Women in Biotech), said in statement. "We believe this relationship will provide a product with superior fracture reduction and enhanced patient compliance compared to the currently available PTH injectables to those patients with a high degree of unmet need."

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