Switzerland's Actelion has teamed up with Nippon Shinyaku of Japan to develop the latter's investigational treatment for pulmonary arterial hypertension.

The two companies have signed a licensing agreement on a novel orally long-acting prostaglandin I2 receptor agonist called NS-304, which was originally discovered and synthesized by Nippon Shinyaku for the treatment of PAH. The latter firm will receive an undisclosed upfront payment and additional development and marketing, as well as royalties. In addition, the deal gives Nippon Shinyaku the opportunity to explore the possibility of co-development in Japan of a compound which is being developed by Actelion globally.

In order to "promptly bring NS-304 to the market of PAH and other possible indications", the companies said that Actelion will take over the Phase IIa clinical study being conducted by Nippon Shinyaku in Europe and be responsible for global development and commercialisation of the compound outside Japan. NS-304 has recently completed Phase I evaluation of the compound in the UK and a Phase II programme in PAH patients was initiated in Europe at the end of 2007.