Sage Therapeutics bags deal with Shionogi for experimental depression drug SAGE-217 in Japan, Taiwan, South Korea

Sage Therapeutics entered a deal with Shionogi for the development and marketing of its experimental drug SAGE-217 for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD) and other indications in Japan, Taiwan and South Korea, the companies announced. Under the agreement, which is potentially worth more than $550 million, Shionogi will be responsible for all clinical development, regulatory filings and commercialisation of the drug in the three countries.

Jeff Jonas, CEO of Sage, remarked "Shionogi is a well-regarded commercial leader in mood disorders in the Asian market" adding "by working together, we believe we can expand the global footprint for SAGE-217 alongside our ongoing efforts in the US and EU." Earlier this week, Sage announced an expedited development programme for SAGE-217 in MDD and postpartum depression in the US.

Under the deal with Shionogi, the Japanese drugmaker will make an upfront payment of $90 million to Sage, with the latter eligible to receive additional development and commercial milestones of up to $485 million. Sage also stands to receive tiered royalties on sales of SAGE-217 in Japan, Taiwan and South Korea, with tiers averaging in the greater than 20 percent range. In addition, Shionogi has also granted Sage certain rights to co-promote SAGE-217 in Japan across all indications.

SAGE-217, which is a next-generation positive allosteric modulator, is currently being developed for MDD and certain other mood and movement disorders. Commenting on the agreement, Shionogi CEO Isao Teshirogi remarked "the compound will allow us to build up and strengthen the psychiatry presence that we have built through Cymbalta and Intuniv."

For related analysis, see ViewPoints: SAGE-547 downgraded to placeholder, but Sage isn't complaining.

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