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Royalty Pharma buys bigger Tecfidera interest

Agrees $510m deal with Biogen Idec for IP share of multiple sclerosis drug
Royalty pharma logo

Royalty Pharma has bought an interest in Biogen Idec's much-touted new oral multiple sclerosis (MS) therapy Tecfidera for $510m in cash.

The US private equity company - which specialises in in buying up intellectual property assets in the pharma sector and made an unsuccessful $6.4bn bid for Elan last year - has acquired the interest in Tecfidera from former shareholders of Swiss firm Fumapharm AG, which was acquired by Biogen Idec in 2006.

Biogen Idec and Fumapharm had been collaborating on Tecfidera (formerly known as BG-12) since October 2003, and the acquisition also gave it rights to psoriasis drug, Fumaderm (fumaric acid esters), which is approved in Germany.

The deal by Royalty Pharma gives the company an interest in sales of Tecfidera, which were $286m in the third quarter of 2013 and well ahead of analyst estimates of $205m, as well as Fumaderm, which made around $16m in the same period.

Tecfidera is well on the way to becoming a blockbuster in its first 12 months on the market, despite the fact that its launch in Europe was delayed by Biogen Idec as the company tried to establish market exclusivity for the drug as a new active substance (NAS). Analysts have suggested that peak sales of Tecfidera could approach $4bn a year.

Royalty Pharma negotiated a similar earn-out agreement with former Fumapharm shareholders in May 2012, paying around $761m on that occasion. At the time, Royalty Pharma's chief executive Pablo Legorreta said the firm was "pleased to acquire an interest in one of the most promising new therapies addressing the needs of patients with relapsing-remitting MS".

The US company currently owns royalty interests in 39 approved products, including Abbott's arthritis blockbuster Humira (adalimumab), Merck & Co's diabetes drugs Januvia (sitagliptin) and a number of Gilead Sciences' antiretroviral products for HIV.

Article by
Phil Taylor

7th January 2014

From: Sales

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