Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Astellas Pharma Inc. today announced that they have entered into an agreement providing Astellas exclusive rights to develop and commercialize the investigational compound linaclotide in Japan, Indonesia, Korea, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Thailand. Linaclotide is currently in Phase 3 clinical development in the United States for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C) and chronic constipation. Under the terms of the agreement, Astellas would pay Ironwood $75 million in upfront and precommercial milestones, including a $30 million licensing fee, as well as escalating royalties on linaclotide sales. Astellas will lead clinical development in Japan and be responsible for all activities and expenses relating to clinical development, regulatory approval, and commercialization in the above mentioned territory. "We are pleased to initiate a great partnership with Ironwood," said Masafumi Nogimori, Astellas' president and chief executive officer. "This collaboration fits well with our existing gastrointestinal franchise in Japan, and I'm excited to deliver linaclotide to the Asian territory. I strongly believe that Astellas will maximize the potential product value of linaclotide with our proven capabilities." "This collaboration continues Ironwood's strategy to form partnerships to develop and commercialize linaclotide in the top three pharmaceutical markets: the U.S., Europe, and Japan, while enabling Ironwood to retain potentially fifty percent of the long-term global value of linaclotide in those key regions, should linaclotide meet our sales expectations," said Peter Hecht, Ironwood's chief executive officer. "Astellas has strong capabilities for delivering linaclotide to patients in its territory and we look forward to collaborating with them."