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Dec 14, 2006

Schering-Plough Shells Out $111M for Hep B Drug

  • Valeant Pharmaceuticals and Metabasis Therapeutics signed definitive agreements for the assignment and license of development and commercial rights to pradefovir to Schering-Plough. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2007.

    Valeant licensed pradefovir from Metabasis in 2000 and has been conducting clinical trials to evaluate the safety and efficacy of pradefovir for the treatment of compensated chronic hepatitis B. Pradefovir is a pro-drug of PMEA, an antiviral compound that uses Metabasis' HepDirect® technology to enable higher concentrations of the drug in the liver, the primary site of replication for the hepatitis B virus and lower concentrations elsewhere.

    Under the terms of the agreements, Schering-Plough will make an upfront payment of $19.2 million to Valeant and $1.8 million to Metabasis. The company will also pay up to $65 million to Valeant and $25 million to Metabasis based on certain development and regulatory milestones. Schering-Plough will also pay royalties to both firms in the event that pradefovir is commercialized.

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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

Do you agree that ecstasy should be studied for its potential therapeutic benefits?

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