ZymoGenetics' Biotech Disconnect
It's logical to think that synthetic thrombin is safer than bovine- or plasma-derived equivalents. But ZymoGenetics is finding out that it's not an easy sell, especially to Wall Street.
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Novo Nordisk's decision to spin off ZymoGenetics in 2000 was 100% inspired by Roche's hands-off relationship with Genentech. The parent claims Zymo's R&D productivity has since increased; its recent ex-US deal with Bayer-Schering on recombinant thrombin proves that Zymo has certainly grown up and left home.
The broad research, development and commercialization alliance inked in September between ZymoGenetics Inc. and Serono SA stands out not only for its size and scope--an unlimited number of proteins and up-front equity purchases and license fees totalling $81.25 million--but also because each partner is a biotech company, and the research chores will be shared from the outset.
The UK-headquartered life sciences investment firm has comfortably exceeded its target of $350m for a fund dedicated to taking on late-stage products, incurring all the clinical and regulatory risk and receiving a pre-negotiated return once the drug is approved.