After a fairly miserable few months, there is at last some good news for Lundbeck, which comes in the shape of a deal with Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical Co that could be worth $345 million.

The Danish drugmaker says it has formed a strategic alliance with Takeda to exclusively develop and co-commercialise, both in the USA and Japan, several compounds in Lundbeck's pipeline for the treatment of mood and anxiety disorders.

The pact will initially focus on the two most advanced compounds in Lundbeck's pipeline, Lu AA21004 and Lu AA24530, but may later include two other drugs in earlier stages of development. Lu AA21004 is currently in Phase II for the treatment of major depressive disorder and the results should be announced later this year.

Under the terms of the agreement, Lundbeck will receive an initial payment of $40 million, rising to a maximum of $345 million in additional milestone payments. The firms will jointly complete development programmes, with Takeda booking sales and funding the majority of the follow-on activities, while the Danish company will receive a share of revenues as well as royalties.

Takeda’s president, Yasuchika Hasegawa, said the compounds have the potential to demonstrate substantial benefits compared to existing therapies and will contribute to the enhancement of our central nervous system franchise”. Lundbeck’s chief executive Claus Braestrup added that

Takeda is one of the fastest growing companies in the USA and this, combined with its market leader position in Japan, “has made us confident that we have identified a fully committed and highly competent partner”.

He went on to say that the deal provides “a unique opportunity for Lundbeck to build a commercial presence both in the USA and in Japan”.

Establishing some from of US presence may take the pressure of Lundbeck, which has had a tough time of late. The company has suffered a couple of late-stage failures of late, most recently with the stroke drug desmoteplase, and it is concerned about looming patent expiries starting in 2012 of the blockbuster Lexapro (escitalopram), sold in the USA by licensee Forest Laboratories, and its own Cipralex brand of the antidepressant.

Lexapro patent validated in USA

The day also brought some good news on that front too, as Forest announced that a federal appeals court upheld the validity of the US patent on Lexapro. The court also upheld an injunction preventing the launch of a generic version of the drug by Israel’s Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries before March 2012.

The decision pushed Forest shares up 9.9% to $3.75 and the drug is just as vital to the firm’s fortunes as it is to Lundbeck’s. Lexapro sales last year reached $2.1 billion, over 60% of the US firm’s total revenue.