The USA’s BioCryst Pharmaceuticals has signed a major deal with Shionogi which will see the Japanese drugmaker help with the development and commercialization of its influenza drug peramivir.

Under the terms of the agreement, Shionogi will obtain rights to injectable formulations of peramivir in Japan in exchange for a $14 million upfront payment and BioCryst may also receive extra clinical (up to $21 million) and commercial (up to $95 million) milestone payments in addition to double-digit royalties on product sales of peramivir, a neuraminidase inhibitor.

BioCryst chief executive Jon Stonehouse said that “Shionogi is the ideal partner to help bring our lead antiviral, peramivir, through development and to the market in Japan.” He added that the deal provides another source of funding, in addition to the $102.6 million, four-year contract the Department of Health and Human Services recently awarded the firm, “for advanced development of peramivir toward US licensure."

Peramivir was filed with the US Food and Drug Administration in November 2004 to treat seasonal and life-threatening influenza, including H5N1 or avian flu and if it gets the nod from the agency, it will be the third neuraminidase inhibitor to hit the market and will be competing against Roche's Tamiflu (oseltamivir) and GlaxoSmithKline's inhaled Relenza (zanamivir).