Progenics stands to earn almost $70 million during one-year transition period and to support development of Relistor.

Progenics Pharmaceuticals is to regain all rights to the marketed drug Relistor® currently held by its licensee, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. Relistor is a subcutaneous injection for treating opioid-induced constipation in patients with advanced diseases receiving palliative care.

The drug is currently approved in over 30 countries including those in North America and the EU. Progenics says that additional launches are also planned over 2009 and 2010. Progenics earned $60,000 in royalty-related income on net sales of subcutaneous Relistor during the fourth quarter of 2008 and $146,000 for calendar year 2008.

The deal with Wyeth includes a one-year transition period (subject to early termination by Progenics), after which Progenics will assume full control and development of subcutaneous Relistor. Progenics will, however, immediately take over ongoing development of an oral form of the drug.

During the transition period Wyeth will continue to manufacture, market, and distribute Relistor and pay royalties to Progenics. Wyeth will also pay Progenics $60 million, in six quarterly installments, to cover costs associated with the transition. It will also exclusively license to Progenics Relistor IP developed under the companies’ original license and co-development agreement.

Progenics could also receive up to $9.5 million from Wyeth to support development of a multidose pen for subcutaneous Relistor. This could be launched during 2011, Progenics reports. Another $5 million payment may also be made to support required pediatric studies.

Paul J Maddon, M.D., Ph.D., Progenics CEO and CSO, claims that Relistor is only “just beginning to realize its potential,” and says that the company will “aggressively continue development to expand the utility of both subcutaneous and oral Relistor into a new population: patients with chronic pain who experience opioid-induced constipation.”

Progenics confirmed that it is keeping its options open with respect to maximizing the value of Relistor worldwide. Alternatives include licensing the drug to another partner worldwide and retaining co-promotion rights in the U.S. Progenics may also opt to commercialize Relistor alone in the U.S. and form collaborations in other markets. Additionally, Progenics is considering forming strategic alliances with companies developing commercially compatible products or forming other partnerships to aid the development and commercialization of Relistor.

The reacquisition does not affect Progenics’ other Relistor licensee, Ono Pharmaceutical, which in October 2008 negotiated rights to develop and commercialize the subcutaneous treatment in Japan.

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