Scotland-based ProStrakan Group has exclusively licensed its preclinical renal drug candidates to USA-based Amgen, the world's largest biotechnology company, in a deal valued at up to $150 million.

Under the terms of the deal, Amgen receives an exclusive worldwide license for the R&D and commercialization of the compounds in exchange for an initial upfront payment of $7 million and research collaboration funding of $1.1 million for the first year with the possibility of extending it thereafter.

Further payments will be made at undisclosed milestones and ProStrakan will get royalties on net sales of licensed products on a worldwide basis.

Analysts at Nomura Code Securities said the deal was a strong endorsement of ProStrakan’s drug discovery capabilities. They speculate that the drug candidates may be targeting the calcium sensing receptor, the same molecular mechanism addressed by ProStrakan’s PSK1594 drug candidate for hyperparathyroidism.

ProStrakan also stands to receive milestone payments upon successful completion of certain preclinical, clinical, regulatory and commercial events, which could ultimately total in excess of $150 million. Further financial details were not disclosed.

Meanwhile, ProStakan said it plans to raise £11.3 million ($21m) via a private placement to provide additional working capital as it advances the business. Nomura said the financing would see the company through to the third quarter of 2007 at its expected burn rate.