Bristol-Myers Squibb, Pfizer and Eisai are targeting Japan’s growing pharma market with a pair of deals in the cardiovascular and oncology spaces, signing back-loaded agreements to push new drugs in the country.
Bristol-Myers and Pfizer, makers of the blood thinner Eliquis, inked a deal with Portola Pharmaceuticals to develop and launch the company’s reversal agent in Japan. Portola’s andexanet alfa, submitted for FDA approval in December, is an antidote to so-called Factor Xa inhibitors like Eliquis and Xarelto. Bristol-Myers and Pfizer are paying $15 million up front for the Japanese rights to the treatment, promising another $20 million tied to approval and up to $70 million more if Portola’s therapy meets its sales goals.
And Eisai, in a separate deal, has partnered with China’s Huya Bioscience on an investigational treatment for blood cancer. Eisai is handing over an undisclosed up-front payment and signing on to pay as much as $270 million more in exchange for the rights to HBI-8000 in Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Singapore. The drug is an oral treatment that targets enzymes called HDACs, which play a role in regulating the growth of tumor cells. Huya’s treatment is in development as a treatment for lymphoma and solid tumors, Eisai said.
For Bristol-Myers and Pfizer, pushing Portola’s drug forward is part of a global competition with other makers of next-generation anticoagulants, including Boehringer Ingelheim and partners Bayer and Johnson & Johnson. Boehringer’s Pradaxa got a leg up on its rivals last year when the German company won FDA approval for Praxbind, an in-house reversal agent for its blood thinner.
As for Eisai, the Japanese drugmaker is working to mend its balance sheet and build out a pipeline. Thanks in part to patent expiries for Alzheimer’s drug Aricept and acid reflux treatment AcipHex, Eisai’s revenues are on the decline. And the company’s latest launches, the weight-loss drug Belviq and seizure medication Fycompa, are facing exclusivity problems of their own. The company scored a much-needed victory last year with the FDA approval of Lenvima, a treatment for thyroid cancer that Eisai believes can bring in more than $1 billion in annual sales at its peak.
By Damian Garde
Source: Fierce Biotech
Novo Nordisk has signed a new strategic partnership with Microsoft to expedite the discovery and development of drugs leveraging big data and artificial intelligence (AI). Under the deal, Microsoft’s computational services, Cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) will be merged with the drug discovery, development and data science expertise of Novo Nordisk.
Following years of push-and-pull over the German conglomerate’s top post, Bayer has quietly started a hunt for Baumann’s successor, Bloomberg News reported Tuesday, citing people close to the matter. The new CEO search may portend an early departure for Baumann, whose contract with Bayer isn’t set to expire until April 2024.
Bluebird bio on Monday said its chief strategy and financial officer, Jason Cole, will leave the company this fall, marking the second time in less than a year the cash-strapped gene therapy developer will replace its top financial executive.