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* Octreolin currently in a late stage trial
* Roche to get worldwide exclusive license
* Chiasma to receive payments of up to $595 mln
ZURICH, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Swiss drugmaker Roche said on Monday it would work with privately held U.S. company Chiasma to develop and market a treatment for growth hormone disorders in a deal worth almost $600 million in upfront and milestone payments.
The companies will work on the development Octreolin, an oral form of a treatment now only sold in injections. Octreolin is currently in a late stage trial for the treatment of acromegaly, a condition caused by excessive growth hormone.
"If approved, Octreolin would be an important alternative for patients with acromegaly, a disorder that develops when a person's pituitary gland produces too much growth hormone," Roche Chief Medical Officer Hal Barron said in a statement.
The agreement could help Roche reinforce its drugs pipeline while keeping a lid on costs. The company said at its investor day last September it would keep a lid on research spending, which totalled 8.3 billion Swiss francs ($8.99 billion)in 2011, around one fifth of total sales.
The companies will subsequently seek approval for the drug to be used to treat neuroendocrine tumours, growths which arise from cells in the hormonal and nervous systems which can be malignant.
Roche will make an upfront payment of $65 million to Chiasma, further milestone payments of up to $530 million and double digit royalties on net sales of Octreolin.