Abbott Laboratories has entered into a deal with Reata Pharmaceuticals, getting certain rights outside the USA to the Texas-based firm's bardoxolone, a promising treatment for chronic kidney disease.

Under the terms of the agreement, Abbott is getting exclusive rights to develop and commercialise bardoxolone outside the USA, excluding certain Asian markets. In return, Reata will receive upfront and near-term cash payments of $450 million, plus milestone fees and royalties, while Abbott also obtains rights to certain other compounds for CKD and for cardiovascular and metabolic indications in these territories.

Bardoxolone is an oral, first-in-class antioxidant inflammation modulator that works by increasing the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) of the kidneys. In two Phase II trials, it significantly improved kidney function in patients with advanced CKD, which affects some 50 million people worldwide, and type 2 diabetes.

John Leonard, senior vice president for pharmaceutical R&D at Abbott, said that those studies suggest bardoxolone "could be a significant improvement to the current standard of care for CKD and possibly prevent patients from progressing to the later stages of the disease and dialysis". He added that the agreement "builds on Abbott's existing experience in renal care, while adding a promising compound to our later-stage pipeline."

At the beginning of the year, Reata granted rights in Japan and other selected Asian markets, including China, to Kyowa Hakko Kirin for the drug. In July, the company raised $78 milion in a financing by existing investors CPMG and Novo A/S to fund the second of two pivotal trials of bardoxolone.