Shire has signed a licensing deal with Mochida Pharmaceutical Co which will see the Tokyo-based firm develop and sell the ulcerative colitis therapy Lialda in Japan.

Lialda (mesalazine) is a once-daily treatment which has been approved in over 17 countries since 2007, when it was first launched in the USA. No financial terms of the agreement were disclosed.

In the third quarter, Lialda, which is also sold as Mezavant, contributed $40.4 million to Shire’s coffers, an increase of 148%. Last March, the firm signed up TAP Pharmaceutical Products to help it sell the bowel disorder drug in the USA.

The Mochida deal was a welcome boost for Shire which last week saw Merrill Lynch lower its recommendation on the stock to ‘underperform’ from ‘buy’. The broker says that the introduction of a generic version of its attention deficit hyperactivity disorder drug Adderall XR (mixed amphetamine salts) will hit profits.

Merrill Lynch also claims that market share gains made by Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine dimesylate), the follow-up to Adderall XR, seemed to have stalled. Shire’s strategy is to switch patients to Vyvanse and recently surprised some analysts by pushing up the price of Adderall XR in the USA by 20%.