The Swiss biotech company Actelion has signed a major deal with Britain's GlaxoSmithKline to develop and market the Basel firm's sleep medicine almorexant.
In a statement on Monday, Actelion said the deal would be worth up to SFr3.3 billion ($3.23 billion).
The accord, under which GSK receives exclusive worldwide rights to co-develop and co-commercialise almorexant, ends months of speculation about whom Actelion might pick for cooperation on the drug.
almorexant is the first in a new class of medicines for insomnia, which had been considered an enticing prospect for many large drug companies.
Actelion said it would receive an upfront payment of SFr150 million and would be eligible for additional milestone payments of up to SFr415 million on the successful development and approval of amorexant in primary insomnia.
For Actelion, the successful development of almorexant is considered key to reducing its dependence on its main drug Tracleer.
Last week the Swiss stock exchange SWX announced that Actelion would be admitted to its Swiss Market Index of blue chip companies from September 22.
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