MEI Pharma Inc (NASDAQ:MEIP) has announced that it will be teaming up with Helsinn Group in an exclusive development, licensing and commercialization of a treatment called Pracinostat.

The deal will allow the two firms to push for faster development and commercialization of the drug which can be used to treatvarious hematologic Diseases such as leukemia and high-risk myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). The partnership will allow the Mei Pharma and Helsinn Group to combine their resources towards the rapid advancement of the drug which is currently ready for Phase III clinical trials. The deal will provide Helsinn with exclusive rights including commercialization and manufacturing rights.

Helsinn is also expected to provide funding for the development of the drug in exchange for the worldwide rights to Pracinostat. Mei Pharma expects $20 million in payment from the deal. It will receive $15 million upfront and the remaining $5 million will be paid after the commencement of the Phase III trials. The latter will include recently diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia patients that are not fit to receive induction therapy. MEI Pharma might also receive as much as $444 million from regulatory and development sales as well as sales based on milestone payments and royalty payments from various regions.

Helsinn is expected to make an equity investment of $5 million in Mei Pharma. Helsinn Chairman and CEO Riccardo Braglia stated that his firm is excited to be part of the deal with Mel Pharma particularly because of the exclusive rights that it will receive. Braglia also stated that the drug will first target AML because it represents an area that has a lot of unmet medical requirements. The development process of the treatment will also target other indications. The CEO also noted that the partnership is ideal for his firm because it aligns with the commitment to help people overcome cancer and even have a manageable live with cancer. The two companies aim is to find the optimal dosage regimens of the drug when it is combined with azacitidine to treat high-risk MDS.