Partnering Remains Robust
As a consequence of almost 12 months of tough financial conditions and the limited flow of capital to biotechs, companies have, increasingly, been turning to partnering as an alternate method of financing. The over $9 billion generated included two deals that could, if all milestones are met, generate over $1 billion. PTC Therapeutics’ exclusive research collaboration and licensing agreement with Roche for the development of orally bioavailable small molecules could realize approximately $1.9 billion. Roche will utilize PTC’s technology called gene-expression modulation by small molecules. The collaboration focuses initially on four CNS disease targets to be jointly selected.
Nektar Therapeutics signed a worldwide licensing agreement with AstraZeneca for two of its therapies: NKTR-118, in late-stage development for the treatment of opioid-induced constipation, and NKTR-119, in early-stage development to treat pain without constipating side effects. AstraZeneca will pay Nektar $125 million up front and assume responsibility for the continued development of both programs. Nektar is eligible for milestones that could total up to $1.4 billion if the products achieve considerable levels of success.