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 2, 2022

GSK names Julie Brown, a 25-year AstraZeneca veteran, its first woman CFO

Life sciences

Five years ago, GSK made headlines when it hired Emma Walmsley to become the first woman to run a major pharmaceutical company. Now the Big Pharma has brought in another woman to control the company’s finances. Julie Brown will be GSK’s next chief financial officer. Brown, currently the chief operating and financial officer at fashion and beauty brand Burberry Group, is set to replace Iain Mackay.

October 2, 2022

Moderna creates new launch preparation role, poaches Novartis exec as manufacturing lead

Life sciences

Moderna created a new role responsible for “building out the company’s organization to support its growing pipeline.” Starting first thing 2023, Juan Andres, Moderna’s manufacturing head, will step into this new role under the title president of strategic partnerships and enterprise expansion, the company said Thursday.

October 2, 2022

Torrent Pharma to acquire Curatio for $245.16m

Life sciences

The latest takeover is anticipated to boost the presence of Torrent in the dermatology segment. Indian company Torrent Pharmaceuticals has signed a definitive agreement for the complete acquisition of Curatio Healthcare for $245.16m (Rs20bn).