During the first quarter of 2017, Cortellis Competitive Intelligence added 1,073 new deals as part of its ongoing coverage of pharmaceutical licensing activity. This represented a slight increase on the last quarter (1,022) and a similar volume roughly to the same quarter the previous year (1,141). However, this quarter showed a significant augment in deals worth more than $0.5 billion on the last quarter (17 versus 12). This article will focus on highlighting a number of the most valuable and notable deals forged during the quarter, as well as a selection of deals from some of the most prolific deal makers. An update on milestones, options and terminated deals of significance will also be presented, along with an early outlook on the next quarter’s pharmaceutical licensing activity.
High-value deals: potentially worth $0.5 billion or more
Cortellis tracked 41 high-value new partnerships, worth in excess of $100 million, during the first quarter of 2017. Of these, 17 could potentially generate $0.5 billion or more in revenues for their primary collaborators.
Allergan obtains Assembly’s microbiome gastrointestinal programs and Editas’s genome editing ocular candidates for $3.97 billion
Allergan reached the disclosed highest value deal signed during this quarter with its exclusive worldwide rights to Assembly Biosciences’s preclinical microbiome candidates, delivered using Assembly’s Gemicel platform technology, for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), including ABI-M201 for ulcerative colitis, ABI-M301 for Crohn’s disease and two additional compounds for IBS with diarrhea, constipation or both. Assembly retains an option to co-promote the drugs in the U.S. and China and received an upfront fee of $50 million from Allergan. In addition, Assembly is eligible to gain up to $630 million in development and up to $2.15 billion in commercial milestones plus royalties, as well as $75 million in R&D expenses through proof-of-concept studies co-funded by Allergan and Assembly (2/3 and 1/3 respectively). Previously, in 2016, Allergan had already reinforced its IBD assets with Medimmune’s MED-2070 for up to $1.52 billion.
Allergan’s pipeline covering eye diseases, especially retinal diseases, was also expanded, with an exclusive option to license up to five of Editas Medicine’s CRISPR genome editing ocular programs, including the preclinical leber congenital amaurosis 10 (LCA10) program, in return for an upfront payment of $90 million, more than $200 million in milestone payments per program and other fees, as well as royalties.
Royalty Pharma gains Perrigo’s Tysabri royalty stream for $2.85 billion
Perrigo divested its Tysabri (natalizumab) royalty rights to RPI Finance Trust, an affiliate of Royalty Pharma, for $2.2 billion in cash plus $650 million in contingent milestone payments, allowing Perrigo to focus on consumer-facing and medical prescription (Rx) businesses. In November 2016, Perrigo had already announced that it was exploring strategic alternatives for the royalty rights to Tysabri, a humanized monoclonal antibody commercialized by Biogen, and originally codeveloped with Elan, mainly for multiple sclerosis, with 2016 annual revenues of $1,963.8 million. The Irish-based firm had gained access to Tysabri following Elan’s acquisition in December 2013 for approximately $8.6 billion. With this transaction, Royalty Pharma finally captured the blockbuster Tysabri; in 2013, the company had made a $7.8 billion offer for Elan (initially, $6.5 billion) but it was rejected by the Elan’s board.