Scotland-based specialty pharmaceuticals group ProStrakan has signed up a partner to develop and sell Sancuso, its transdermal patch for the prevention of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in Japan and China.

The partner in question is JapanBridge, which will also commercialise Sancuso (granisetron) in several other nations throughout South-East Asia, notably Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia. In cash terms, ProStrakan will receive more than $26 million in upfront and milestone payments, subject to the achievement of certain approvals and sales targets and will receive undisclosed royalties.

JapanBridge, which was formed by MPM Capital and Itochu Corp “to address unmet needs for important new western oncology therapies in the Far East”, says the deal represents “its first exclusive licence of a significant cancer product from a western pharmaceutical company”. Its president Steve Engen noted that the Japanese market for transdermal patch products “is among the largest in the world” and his firm will work with ProStrakan “to apply innovative regulatory strategies” to get Sancuso onto Asian markets.

ProStrakan already has a deal in place for the patch in South Korea having entered into a deal with LG Life Sciences in August last year. Sancuso was filed with the US Food & Drug Administration in June 2007 and if approved, should be launched in the second half of the year. The Galashiels-based company hopes to get the thumbs-up in Europe in the next few months followed by launches in 2009.

Chief executive Wilson Totten said that in addition to building the business in Europe and the USA, “we are growing a meaningful revenue stream from outlicensing our product portfolio in markets that are non-core for us”. The partnership with JapanBridge “is another clear example of this”, he concluded.