Japan's Chugai partners with Athersys on stem cell ischemic stroke therapy

SINGAPORE--Chugai and U.S.-based Athersys Inc. ($ATHX) agreed to partner in a license agreement on the development of a stem cell therapy for ischemic stroke that includes clinical trial work in Japan.

The proprietary cell therapy product by Athersys, MultiStem, is under a Phase II clinical study for ischemic stroke in the United States and Europe. Athersys has started preparations for clinical development in Japan, including engagement with relevant Japanese health officials.

Chugai will be responsible for the development and commercialization of MultiStem for ischemic stroke in Japan, and Athersys will have responsibility for product supply. Under the financial terms of the agreement, Athersys will receive an up-front cash payment of $10 million from Chugai and would receive additional payments as the program is further advanced.

Athersys is eligible to receive milestone payments from Chugai of up to $45 million upon the successful achievement of certain development and regulatory milestones, and sales milestones of up to ¥17.5 billion ($150 million).

Athersys would also receive from Chugai tiered, double-digit royalties on any net sales, as well as payments for product supplied to Chugai.

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