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Pfizer expands RNA development deal

Pfizer has signed a development and commercialisation deal potentially worth more than $600m with the Danish firm Santaris Pharma

Pfizer has signed a development and commercialisation deal potentially worth more than $600m with the Danish firm Santaris Pharma. The deal is a significant expansion of a partnership formed in early 2009 between Santaris and Wyeth, which has since been acquired by Pfizer.

Under the collaboration, the companies will develop up to 10 new RNA targets selected by Pfizer, with a focus on unmet medical needs. Santaris, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the research and development of mRNA and microRNA targeted therapies, will contribute its proprietary A/S Locked Nucleic Acid Drug Platform to the effort.

The deal calls for Pfizer to make an upfront payment of $14m in exchange for access to the technology. Santaris also stands to receive potential additional milestone payments of up to $600m as well as royalties on sales of products that are developed through the alliance.

The original agreement with Wyeth called for an upfront payment of $7m in cash and a $10m equity investment in Santaris. That deal also contained provisions for milestones of up to $83m and royalties on the original development programmes, for which Santaris is still eligible. "Pfizer has advanced several programmes under the original collaboration and reached a number of early milestones since the inception of the collaboration," according to the Danish company.

Santaris, which was founded in 2003, also has strategic partnerships with miRagen Therapeutics (targeting cardiovascular disease), Shire (aimed at rare genetic disorders), GlaxoSmithKline (aimed at viral diseases), and Enzon Pharmaceuticals (for cancer indications). The privately held company has an in-house pipeline as well, with two oncology products in phase I and a hepatitis C drug candidate in phase II.

5th January 2011

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