Actelion/Axovan: Acquisition Through Earnout
Acquiring compatriot Axovan was Actelion's only option to access Phase II endothelin receptor antagonist (ERA) clazosentan; a licensing deal would have left Axovan with too little to remain a standalone company. But the CHF 252 million ($191 million) deal still makes sense for Actelion: the company's initial financial exposure is just CHF 40 million, with most of the remaining deal value linked to milestones. Actelion gains access to a late-stage compound it knows well, that fits perfectly within its own ERA-focused portfolio. Furthermore, it beefs up its R&D and bolsters its preclinical pipeline, all for little more than it would have had to pay for clazosentan alone. Axovan puts its lead compound in the hands of a partner with a proven track record in ERA development and commercialization.
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More Funding Options for European biotech
The flotation of UK biotech Ark Therapeutics, likely followed closely by Switzerland's Basilea, suggest Europe's public markets are waking up. It's too early, as yet, to call the IPO window open, though. And the string of European hopefuls monitoring Ark's progress and hoping to follow in its wake will have to contend with investors who are far more discerning than during the last upturn. Late-stage products remain attractive, but there are few fixed rules.
Actelion: A Model for European Biotech
Actelion reached profitability in record time by focusing from the start on the development and commercial end of the business. It in-licensed an unusually late-stage pipeline made up of compounds its founders helped develop, and built its own global sales and marketing infrastructure to maximize the value of its projects. Now Actelion plans to leverage growing profits to go back and nurture earlier stage research-a top-down biotech-building model that may prove inspirational to others.
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