Sector News

Flailing Wilex finds a lifeline as Roche steps in with an ADC deal

October 14, 2014
Life sciences
Germany’s Wilex has long been on the way out of biotech, but a new collaboration with Roche provides the company with some cash up front and a shot at down-the-line royalties.
 
Under the deal, Roche has agreed to pay as much as €52 million ($65.8 million) for the exclusive rights to an undisclosed tumor target. Roche also extended its relationship with Heidelberg Pharma, Wilex’s CRO subsidiary that out-licenses the biotech’s proprietary antibody-drug conjugate technology.
 
Wilex didn’t say how much of the sum comes in the form of up-front cash, but, for a company that has spent the past year struggling to keep the doors open, any income is a positive.
 
The Munich company’s problems began in 2012, when Rencarex, a renal cell carcinoma treatment, failed a Phase III trial. After a year of “intensive efforts” to find investors, Wilex let go of 80% of its staff in January and unveiled plans to gradually exit all clinical development, transitioning into a service provider.
 
So far, the company has signed over the Chinese rights to the Phase II pancreatic and breast cancer treatment Mesupron in a €7 million ($9.6 million) deal with Link Health, trading rest-of-the-world ownership of the drug to Israel’s RedHill Biopharma for $1 million up front and future royalties. And, in May, Wilex handed back 5 once-promising cancer treatments to ex-partner UCB in exchange for cancellation fees and some debt forgiveness.
 
Wilex co-founder and CEO Olaf Wilhelm stepped down in March after about 17 years with the company, replaced by CFO Jan Schmidt-Brand. The company, a Fierce 15 honoree back in 2005, was originally launched with the help of German billionaire Dietmar Hopp.
 
By Damian Garde
 
 

comments closed

Related News

October 10, 2021

Nutraceutical giants’ partnerships inject life back into industry at Vitafoods

Life sciences

Some of industry’s biggest players are joining forces to bring cost-effective yet scientifically backed offerings to the nutraceuticals market. Co-creation is reinvigorating supplement innovation, pairing together companies’ diverse expertise, sales networks and clinical trial investments.

October 10, 2021

Pilot launch complete: GlaxoSmithKline’s malaria shot scores WHO backing for wider rollout in Africa

Life sciences

GlaxoSmithKline has spent many years developing and testing its world-first malaria vaccine, but even after a positive recommendation from European regulators in 2015, the shot still isn’t widely deployed. That’s set to change with the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) blessing for the vaccine.

October 10, 2021

Henrietta Lacks’ estate sues Thermo Fisher for continued sale of HeLa cells without family consent

Life sciences

A sample of Henrietta Lacks’ tissue was taken from her cervix without her consent while she was undergoing cancer treatment at Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1951. Her cells have subsequently been used to develop the polio vaccine, HPV vaccines and gene-mapping techniques and continue to be sold for research purposes by Thermo Fisher Scientific.

Send this to a friend