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GSK subsidiary pays $227 million for rights to Basilea Pharmaceutica eczema drug
BASEL, Switzerland—Basilea Pharmaceutica Ltd. recently entered into an exclusive worldwide agreement under which Stiefel, a GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)-owned dermatology company, will pay $227 million for control of Toctino, a compound for the treatment of adults with severe chronic hand eczema that is refractory to treatment with potent topical corticosteroids.
Basliea's Toctino (alitretinoin) is commercially available in 14 countries and approved in another 15 countries—in the United States, oral alitretinoin is an investigational drug in a phase III trial. With the transaction's completion, Stiefel will assume responsibility for the development, manufacturing, commercialization and distribution of the product. Existing Toctino distribution agreements in Europe, Canada, Mexico, Israel and the Republic of Korea will be assigned to Stiefel.
In addition to the upfront payment of $227 million, Basilea will be eligible for additional milestone payments of between $46.6 million and $77.8 million related to a regulatory milestone of alitretinoin in the United States. Basilea will also receive low double-digit participation in U.S. sales starting three years after launch.
"Through this transaction, we are immediately accessing the value of Toctino and we will be able to further focus our strategy on solving the massive healthcare threat of resistance in the areas of anti-infectives and oncology," said Dr. Anthony Man, CEO of Basilea. "This transaction provides us with non-dilutive capital to achieve our clinical milestones that are key to optimizing shareholder value. It also gives us the flexibility to selectively add products or product portfolios that address resistance to current therapies in our focus areas of anti-infectives and oncology."
Specific plans for the money include applying the capital to support the regulatory filing of ceftobiprole for the treatment of pneumonia in the hospital in Europe this year and subsequently in the United States, as well as completing a phase III program for the antifungal agent isavuconazole. Although those are the two main goals, money will also be used to advance phase I compounds addressing resistant Gram-negative bacterial infections and drug resistance to current anti-tumor therapies.
Employees at Basilea's European affiliates and Swiss headquarters who are actively involved in the commercialization and distribution of Toctino will have the right to transfer to Stiefel upon completion of the transaction.
Of course, while $227 million is no tiny amount of money, the GSK-Basilea deal does pale a bit in the shadow of GSK's ongoing $2.6 billion hostile takeover attempt of Human Genome Sciences Inc., not to mention new rumors circulating June 12 that GSK is also aiming to acquire BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc., a company that researches and develops therapies for chronic genetic disorders causing enzyme deficiency of carbohydrate metabolism, for $5 billion.