Deals over the Christmas period

The festive season was marked by a steady stream of deals, though 2012 ended without any blockbuster announcements that could have caught investors off-guard during holiday merriment. In addition to significant amendments to two long-standing Takeda deals, Elan completed the spin-out of its drug discovery unit and Perrigo Company gobbled up the share of privately held Cobrek Phamaceuticals it did not already own.

On the licensing side the serial dealmaker Halozyme Therapeutics granted Pfizer rights to its subcutaneous injection technology for biologics. Influenza was also a focus, with the biosecurity group Emergent BioSolutions and RNA-interference specialist Sarepta Therapeutics signing deals to advance new candidates.

December 28

The Michigan-based generics and OTC group Perrigo paid $45m for the 81.5% of Cobrek previously owned by venture backers. Their partnership dates back to 2008 and has so far resulted in launches of generic versions of Evoclin and Extina, with 2013 introductions expected for Luxiq and Olux-E emerging from that tie-up.

Maryland’s Emergent BioSolutions signed on a next-generation recombinant pandemic flu vaccine from VaxInnate Corporation of New Jersey to fulfil its agreement to become a centre of development and manufacturing with the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. Under the contract VaxInnate will continue to develop the vaccine and Emergent will manufacture it using its flexible technology.

December 27

Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma signed a drug discovery licence with Kobe University and KNC Laboratories to develop oncology drugs targeting the Ras signalling pathway. Up-front, milestone and royalty payments were not disclosed.

Coronado Biosciences licensed North American, South American and Japanese manufacturing rights for its lead product, trichuris suis ova (TSO), a potential treatment for Crohn’s disease, from Germany’s Ovamed. The manufacturing rights cover Cornado’s licensed commercial territory, for which Coronado will pay $1.5m to Ovamed to manufacture the candidate.

This followed an agreement signed on December 21 with the NIH to conduct a study to evaluate TSO, the microscopic eggs of the porcine whipworm that Coronado believes will modulate T-cells and inflammatory response.

Sigma-Tau Group handed back to Soligenix the North American and European rights to beclomethasone dipropionate, a corticosteroid to treat graft vs host disease. The project is known as orBec, and a phase II trial of it had been halted for futility in 2011.

December 24

Takeda saw revisions to two deals on the day before Christmas. It agreed with Amylin (now owned by Bristol-Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca) to unwind a development collaboration on obesity dating back to 2009, a decision made easier by a move in 2011 to discontinue development of pramlintide/metreleptin.

Meanwhile, Takeda’s oncology arm Millennium waived its rights to a 50-50 profit-sharing agreement on under its deal with Infinity Pharmaceuticals on a phosphoinositide-3-kinase (PI3K) development programme. Takeda owns the PI3K intellectual property as a result of its acquisition of Intellikine early last year. Infinity will pay $15m to secure worldwide commercial rights, along with milestones and royalties.

December 21

Elan completed the demerger of its drug discovery unit, now dubbed Prothena Corporation. A subsidiary of Elan owns 18% of the spin-out, while Elan shareholders were awarded the remaining 82% of the new company's shares.

Pfizer signed up to use Halozyme’s recombinant human hyaluronidase enzyme technology for development of subcutaneously injected biologics. The deal allows Pfizer to develop two therapeutic targets for an up-front fee of $8m, with four more targets potentially developed for additional payments.

Sarepta Therapeutics signed an agreement with the NIH to assess AVI-7100, its RNAi project that it hopes will have broad effectiveness against seasonal and pandemic strains of influenza, along with Tamiflu-resistant infections.

To contact the writer of this story email Jonathan Gardner in London at JonathanG@epvantage.com or follow @JonEPVantage on Twitter

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