Valeant Pharmaceuticals and Kadmon Pharmaceuticals inked two separate agreements, worth a combined $12.5 million up front, covering the development and/or marketing of the hepatitis C drug ribavirin and the clinical-stage ribavirin prodrug candidate taribavirin. The deals come within a few days of Kadmon buying out Three Rivers Pharmaceuticals, which already markets the hepatitis C drugs Infergen™ (consensus interferon), Ribasphere® (ribavirin, USP), and RibaPak® (ribavirin).
The first new deal gives Kadmon an exclusive, worldwide license (excluding Japan) to taribavirin, which has successfully completed a Phase IIb trial for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C. Under terms of this agreement Kadmon will pay Valeant $5 million up front in addition to development milestones and future sales royalties.
The second agreement gives Valeant exclusive rights to all Kadmon dosage forms of ribavirin, including its 200 mg, 400 mg, and 600 mg capsules and tablets, in Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, and Bulgaria. Valeant paid Kadmon $7.5 million for the ribavirin portfolio and will source the products from Kadmon.
At first glance the combination of these two deals may seem counterintuitive. Valeant is passing further development of its ribavirin prodrug candidate virtually worldwide to Kadmon but is instead taking on rights to a marketed ribavirin portfolio in central Europe. However, as Valeant’s CEO, J. Michael Pearson, points out, while further development of taribavirin in house was halted in 2009 until a partner could be found, the firm wants to keep its hand in the branded generics market for hepatitis C drugs in some territories. “While participating in product development in the overall hepatitis C market no longer fits within our corporate development strategy, ribavirin could be a significant product for our branded generics portfolio in Central Europe.”
Kadmon, meanwhile, is making a more obvious push into the hepatitis C market globally, both through its deal with Valeant and with its recent acquisition of Three Rivers. “Kadmon is building upon its commercial platform in hepatitis C through expanded global distribution and the addition of complementary products,” notes Samuel D. Kalsal, CEO. “Our agreements with Valeant achieve milestones for both of these objectives. Taribavirin completes our ribavirin franchise and will ensure its future sustainability and growth. We have also expanded our global distribution network for ribavirin into markets in which Valeant is a leading provider.”