Astellas Pharma is expanding its urology franchise by bagging the rights to an early-stage compound for benign prostate hyperplasia from fellow Japanese firm Aska Pharmaceutical Co.

The deal involves AKP-002 which is currently in Phase I for the treatment for functional symptoms of BPH. It is a worldwide deal although Aska, which will receive an undisclosed upfront fee, plus milestone payments and royalties, retains an option to co-promote the product in Japan.

Astellas already sells Harnal (tamsulosin) for BPH, sold as Omnic in Europe and Flomax in the USA, but sales are being hit hard by generic competition in Japan. It also markets Vesicare (solifenacin) for overactive bladder.

The impact of the deal with Aska, which already markets Prostal (chlormadinone) for BPH, on Astellas’ financials for the current fiscal year ending March 31, 2011 "will be immaterial".