March 12, 2010 / 8:02 AM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 1-Ipsen grants Rhythm obesity treatment licence

* Global licence includes two metabolic treatment programmes

* Ipsen will receive progressive payments of up to $80 mln

* Will also acquire 17 pct equity in Rhythm, one board seat

(Adds detail from statement)

By Lionel Laurent

PARIS, March 12 (Reuters) - French biotechnology firm Ipsen (IPN.PA) has granted U.S. group Rhythm Pharmaceuticals a global licence to develop and market treatments for obesity, diabetes and digestive problems.

Ipsen is set to receive up to $80 million from Rhythm in milestone payments and royalties on future product sales as part of the deal, the companies said in a statement on Friday.

The French group will also take a 17 percent stake in Rhythm and have a seat on its board of directors.

“Rhythm has a great opportunity to develop significant new peptide therapeutics to improve the health of people with obesity, diabetes, and other intractable metabolic diseases,” Rhythm President Bart Henderson said in the statement.

Ipsen produces a range of over 20 types of drugs targeted towards oncology, endocrinology and neuromuscular disorders. It has a market capitalisation of 3 billion euros ($4.07 billion) and competes with groups such as Sanofi-Aventis (SASY.PA).

Boston, Massachusetts-based Rhythm develops treatments targeting metabolic diseases. It is backed by investors including MPM Capital and New Enterprise Associates. ($1=.7369 Euro) (Editing by James Regan)

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