German drugmaker Jerini, fresh from its listing on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange [[02/11/05g]], has signed up a North American marketing partner for lead product icatibant, a treatment for hereditary angioedema (HAE).

Jerini has signed a deal with US company Kos Pharmaceuticals for icatibant, which is currently in Phase III testing, in the USA and Canada.

The licensing deal includes an upfront licensing payment of 12 million euros, along with a 10 million euros equity investment in the German company. Undisclosed milestone payments and sales royalties are also specified in the agreement.

Jerini’s share price did not respond to the news however, hovering around 3.10 euros in mid-morning trading today, below last week’s initial public offering (IPO) price of 3.20 euros.

HAE affects around 10,000 patients in the USA and Europe, and is a debilitating genetic disease characterised by recurring swelling attacks in various parts of the body. These attacks can be painful and sometimes life threatening as they can constrict the upper airways and lead to suffocation. Icatibant is designed to reduce the effects of bradykinin, a naturally occurring peptide hormone that is elevated in HAE patients and causes the swelling attacks, and is due to reach the US market in the first half of 2007, according to Jerini.

The drug is also being developed for other forms of angioedema, asthma, and refractory ascites in liver cirrhosis (RAIL) indications, according to Jerini.

The German company said Kos was an ideal partner for icatibant in the USA, because it has a salesforce in place targeting the specialty pharmaceutical sector and offers a range of cardiovascular products.