Women’s health company Organon has signed a license agreement with Swiss biopharma company ObsEva to develop a potential treatment for preterm labour.

Under the terms of the agreement, Organon will license the global development, manufacturing and commercial rights to ebopiprant, an investigational selective prostaglandin F2α (PGF2α) receptor antagonist.

Ebopiprant is being evaluated for the treatment for preterm labour by reducing inflammation and uterine contraction – if approved, it has the potential to be a first-in-class therapy for the condition in the US.

ObsEva will receive tiered double-digit royalties on commercial sales of ebopiprant as well as up to $500m in upfront and milestone payments.

This includes $25m to be paid upon signing of the deal, up to a further $90m in development and regulatory milestones and up to $385m in sales-based milestones.

Last year, ObsEva announced positive results from a Phase IIa trial of ebopiprant in preterm labour. In this trial, the PGF2α receptor agonist reduced delivery in singleton pregnancies at 48 hours after the start of dosing by 55% compared to atosiban, the ex-US standard of care treatment for preterm labour.

Overall, 12.5% of women receiving ebopiprant delivered within 48 hours of starting treatment compared to 21.8% on placebo.

In singleton pregnancies, 12.5% of women receiving ebopiprant treatment delivered with 48 jours compared to 26.8% in the placebo group.

“This development-stage asset is being studied in one of the most crucial unmet needs for women globally. As we build Organon’s women’s health research and development portfolio, the agreement strengthens our path to long term growth,” said Kevin Ali, chief executive officer of Organon.

“Organon and ObsEva share a commitment to improve the lives of women around the world. Through Organon’s strong development, scientific and medical capabilities, our goal is to change the future for millions of mothers and babies,” he added.