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Tallying Late-Stage Licensing Opportunities

Executive Summary

At Windhover's Pharmaceutical Strategic Alliances conference in New York last month, 65% of the audience said by electronic poll that their firms were likely to seek to in-license a late-phase product candidate in the next year. But that's going to be easier said than done. There simply aren't many compounds available for licensing in the US.

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Bristol-Myers Squibb's licensing arrangement for ImClone's Erbitux--both its upfront cash value and its subsequent level of disappointment--continues to define the industry's late-stage dealmaking. Genta's development and marketing alliance with Aventis for Genta's phase III anti-cancer chemosensitizer, Genasense, is no exception: the deal is both bigger, and smaller, than it might once have been had BMS and ImClone not stirred up the dealmaking pot. The Genta product was one of the only remaining unpartnered, important late-stage cancer projects available from a biotech company. It commanded a hefty price --at $135 million in upfront and near-term assured cash terms, and another $345 million in milestones. Before ImClone, Aventis says, it could have gotten this deal for less money. But if the ImClone transaction hadn't gone suddenly south (the FDA in December refused to accept ImClone's BLA submission for Erbitux), Aventis might also have had to pay far more.

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QUOTED. 15 July 2020. Michael Herzog.

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