Salix Buys Rights to GI Drug
Salix Pharmaceuticals of Raleigh has agreed to pay up to $35 million to Italian drug maker Alfa Wassermann S.p.A. for North American rights to sell a new formulation of gastrointestinal drug rifaximin.
Salix has agreed to pay $10 million up front, plus a $25 million development milestone payment upon approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration of an extended intestinal release formulation of rifaximin to treat Crohn’s disease.
Salix also will pay sales-based milestones and royalties. Wassermann will manufacture the therapy and retain rights to sell it outside the United States and Canada.
The extended-release formulation of rifaximin has been designed to release the active drug in the intestinal tract following passage through the stomach.
“We believe gastrointestinal-specific oral antibiotic rifaximin has the potential to treat numerous gastrointestinal diseases,” said Carolyn Logan, Salix president and CEO. “In particular, we believe the EIR formulation we are acquiring in this transaction could be ideally suited to treat patients with Crohn’s disease.”