Deal Making: Who's Coming to the Table

Noteworthy license deals and alliances
Apr 01, 2006



ACQUIRED: Intellectual property and technologies related to RNAi, therapeutics for respiratory diseases FROM: Galenea, Cambridge, MA BY: Nastech Pharmaceutical Company, Bothell, WA TERMS: Not disclosed

Nastech focuses on nasal delivery, tight-junction biology, and RNA interference (RNAi). Its lead candidate is a nasally delivered form of Calcitonin, which is under review at FDA. Other products in the company's pipeline include drugs for pain, osteoporosis, obesity, and diabetes. The deal gives Nastech, among other things, Galenea's lead RNAi product, G00101, which in animal trials has been shown effective against multiple of influenza strains, including H5N1—avian flu.

Galenea, founded in 2004, focuses on calcineurin-related treatments for schizophrenia (in partnership with Otsuka) and inhaled, siRNA-based treatments for influenza.

FORMED: A strategic alliance to promote the synthetic peptide Chrysalin PARTIES: OrthoLogic, Tempe, AZ, and Quintiles, Research Triangle Park, NC TERMS: Quintiles will serve as exclusive supplier of clinical research services. On FDA approval, Quintiles will have right of first negotiation to promote Chrysalin. Quintiles' development subsidiary, PharmaBio, will make an equity investment in Orthologic of up to $5 million.

Orthologic, which until 2003 concentrated on medical devices, is now focused on Chrysalin (or TP508), a 23-amino acid synthetic peptide representing a receptor-binding domain of the human thrombin molecule. The compound has two lead indications: fracture repair and diabetic foot ulcers.

LICENSED: Exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize Simulect (basiliximab) for the treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) FROM: Novartis BY: Cerimon Pharmaceuticals, South San Francisco, CA

Simulect, a monoclonal antibody, selectively blocks the receptor for interleukin-2 (IL-2). It is marketed by Novartis to prevent rejection of transplanted kidneys. Under the deal, Novartis will continue to market Simulect for transplantation; Cerimon will develop it for IBD, and after approval will share revenue with Novartis. Cerimon will also receive performance-based milestone payments.

Cerimon specializes in treatments for autoimmune diseases and pain, pursuing a strategy of bringing drugs to the United States that are already available elsewhere in the world, and expanding indications for existing drugs. This is the company's second major deal. In October 2005, it acquired exclusive US rights to two topical formulations of the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac. The drugs are already marketed in Japan, but at present no topical NSAIDs are available in the United States.

Additional deals: Amgen and Biovitrum have expanded their agreement covering Biovitrum's small molecule 11beta-HSD1 enzyme inhibitors for the treatment of metabolic diseases and other disorders. Takeda has signed an agreement to develop and commercialize Affymax's Hematide, a synthetic peptide-based erythropoiesis-stimulating agent, in Japan. Caliper Life Sciences, which provides products and services for drug discovery research, will merge with Xenogen Corporation, which manufactures advanced imaging systems. Genmab has acquired exclusive worldwide rights to develop therapeutics targeted at a group of angiogenesis targets identified by Australia's Bionomics. Pliva, which is exiting the proprietary drug business, is buying Novartis' Spanish generics subsidiary