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Basilea bags $72m upfront from Pfizer for antifungal license

Pfizer will also pay $427m in future milestone payments for Cresemba

microbiological

Swiss pharma company Basilea has signed up Pfizer as its commercial partner for new antifungal Cresemba in Europe, Russia, Turkey and Israel, hoping to accelerate sales of the drug.

Cresemba (isavuconazole) was approved in 2015 in both intravenous and oral formulations to treat adults with invasive aspergillosis and invasive mucormycosis, two life-threatening fungal infections typically seen in immunocompromised patients and have limited treatment options.

Basilea is claiming CHF 70m ($72m) upfront from Pfizer for the rights to the drug, along with $427m in future milestone payments as well as mid-teen royalties on sales. Pfizer has manufacturing and marketing rights to the drug across Europe with the exception of the Nordic countries.

Basilea launched the antifungal in its first European markets last year - Austria, France, Germany, Italy and the UK - with combined sales of the antifungal and new antibiotic Zevtera (ceftobiprole) reaching CHF7.1m for the full-year. In the US - where Cresemba is sold by Astellas - sales reached $46m, and analysts have predicted it could become a $500m-plus brand at peak.

Pfizer will now take over responsibility for additional launches in the territories covered by the agreement, saying it intends to roll those out later this year and into 2018. Meanwhile, Basilea says it is still on the hunt for partners for Zevtera, which launched in its first markets in 2015.

Pfizer is a major player in anti-infectives with products such as antifungal Vfend (voriconazole), antibiotic Zyvox (linezolid) and its vaccines business, and the US drugmaker said its "well established global presence, together with our deep knowledge of infectious diseases, will enable us to meaningfully address a major unmet medical need" with Cresemba.

Astellas bought into the drug back in 2010 when it paid $86m up-front to Basilea, promising $550m more if the treatment reached further development and sales goals.

Basilea's chief executive Ronald Scott said the cash injection would give it "additional financial flexibility to pursue targeted transactions to strengthen our two portfolio pillars focused on overcoming resistance: anti-infectives and oncology".

Article by
Phil Taylor

15th June 2017

From: Sales

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