A kidney relief  drug worth €673m
Enlarge image


A kidney relief drug worth €673m

10.10.2012 - British-Swedish Astra Zeneca pays Californian start-up Ardelyx up to €673m to get hold on exclusive rights for their NHE3 inhibitor programme.

After a setback this summer with an anti-obesity drug, Astra Zeneca is trying to pick up pace by getting hold on a new class of drugs. The small molecules developed by Ardelyx from Fremont (USA) target a sodium transporter on the surface of the intestinal epithelia. Astra Zeneca sees promising options for the treatment of diseases ranging from cardiovascular defects to diabetes or chronic kidney problems. On 8 October, the two companies announced a worldwide exclusive licensing agreement for Ardelyx’s NHE3 inhibitor programme worth up to €673m. The lead compound – Phase 2-ready RDX5791 – showed activity against constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-C) and is also clinically tested in end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and chronic kidney disease (CKD). Under the terms of the agreement, Astra Zeneca will pay €27m up-front. Development milestones could rinse another €184m into Ardelyx’ pockets. With launch and commercialisation milestones and tiered double-digit royalties, the whole deal could yield up to €673m. Ardelyx will fund Phase II trials and Astra Zeneca further clinical development.

Aside from RDX5791, several other compounds all targeting the main transporter of sodium in the intestines, NHE3, are also subject to the deal. The effect of RDX5791 can be compared with living on a low-salt diet. Preventing the uptake of sodium ions into the body unburdens failing kidneys to eliminate excess sodium. Blocked sodium will be excreted with the faeces instead. A positive systemic effect is that no sodium will accumulate in intravascular and interstitial tissues, so hypertension and oedema formation could be effectively averted. Beyond NHE3 inhibitors, Ardelyx has three separate non-systemic preclinical compounds that are all not covered by the Astra Zeneca deal. Although targeting different molecules in the gut, they share a common property in that they are not absorbed by the gastrointestinal epithelia and are passed through the gastrointestinal tract without being altered.



26.11.2015 Bioeconomy movers and shakers from every corner of the globe met this week at the world’s first Global Bioeconomy Summit in Berlin to discuss, debate and define better ways to ensure the bioeconomy succeeds on an international level.


24.11.2015 After weeks of speculation it is official: US pharma major Pfizer and Irish Botox maker Allergan will merge. With the deal, Pfizer is planning to dodge the high US taxes, causing indignation among US politicians.


23.11.2015 Amidst talk of the IPO window closing and cancelled flotations, diagnostics firms are still striking a chord with investors. Swedish Immunovia and German Curetis are successfully raising public money.


20.11.2015 French Sanofi and British AstraZeneca are giving open innovation a go: The two pharma giants will exchange thousands of compounds – for free.


19.11.2015 French gene editing company Cellectis has granted Servier the rights to bring cancer immunotherapy UCART19 to market. Servier in turn has teamed up with Pfizer to hurry development along.


17.11.2015 The first Italian accelerator specifically for biotech projects has been launched with help from Sofinnova Partners. The plan of BiovelocITA: to help Italy grow into one of Europe’s strongest biotech markets.


13.11.2015 Scientists in Bath, UK, have developed a medical dressing that turns fluorescent green when it detects infection. The researchers hope that the smart burns dressing will help fight antibiotic resistance.


13.11.2015 Out with the old: Roche is discarding four sites with 1,200 staff in an effort to restructure its manufacturing network for small molecules. Instead, a new manufacturing site will be built in Switzerland.


10.11.2015 Algae have many skills, but cancer fighting was not one of them – until now. Researchers from Australia and Germany have genetically engineered diatom algae to accurately deliver chemotherapeutic drugs.


10.11.2015 AstraZeneca has plucked Californian biopharma company ZS Pharma from under Actelion’s nose. The UK company is paying US$2.7bn (€2.5bn) to acquire ZS and its promising hyperkalaemia treatment currently under US regulatory review.


All Events


Strasbourg (F)

BioFIT 2015

Current issue

All issues

Product of the week


Stock list

All quotes


  • EVOCUTIS (UK)0.12 GBP33.33%
  • EPIGENOMICS (D)2.65 EUR17.26%


  • THERAMETRICS (CH)0.04 CHF-20.00%
  • SERODUS (N)2.18 NOK-18.35%
  • DEINOVE (F)5.14 EUR-17.63%


  • PLETHORA (UK)5.50 GBP91.0%
  • PROTHENA PLC (IE)75.31 USD46.2%


  • EPIGENOMICS (D)2.65 EUR-44.0%
  • RENEURON (UK)2.88 GBP-25.8%


  • KARO BIO (S)37.90 SEK5392.8%
  • CHRONTECH PHARMA (S)0.34 SEK1600.0%
  • GALAPAGOS (B)46.60 EUR257.9%


  • BIOTEST (D)15.31 EUR-81.1%
  • NEOVACS (F)0.80 EUR-74.6%

No liability assumed, Date: 30.11.2015