The stars align for Pharmamar

It took a long time, several strategic shifts and an apparent thawing in attitudes at the US FDA, but Pharmamar has delivered at last. Today’s US licensing deal with Jazz for Zepsyre, worth $200m up front, caps a year during which the Spanish group’s stock has more than doubled in value. It is remarkable that Jazz signed on the dotted line today – just two days after Pharmamar filed Zepsyre with the FDA for small-cell lung cancer – so that event looks to have been the trigger. That filing was the culmination of a tortuous development path, which saw Pharmamar’s trial design fortuitously anticipate the first-line SCLC approval of immunotherapy, alongside the failure of Abbvie’s Rova-T to show efficacy in this hard-to-treat cancer type. Ultimately the FDA agreed to an accelerated filing plan based on Zepsyre’s uncontrolled basket study, rather than waiting for next year’s results of the bigger Atlantis trial, which will now serve to confirm approval (Zepsyre has a path to market at last, August 19, 2019). Zepsyre carries 2024 sales forecasts of $163m, implying an NPV of $600m, according to EvaluatePharma, though the deal terms suggest that Jazz sees rather more potential.

  2019e 2020e 2021e 2022e 2023e 2024e
Zepsyre sales ($m) 0 5 44 84 123 163
Source: EvaluatePharma.

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