Pfizer is paying Basilea Pharmaceutica CHF 70 million (approximately $72 million) for rights to commercialize and manufacture the latter’s marketed antifungal agent Cresemba® (isavuconazole), for treating life-threatening invasive mold infections, in Europe (excluding Nordic countries), Russia, Turkey, and Israel. Under terms of the deal, Swiss firm Basilea could receive another another $427 million in milestone payments and double-digit sales royalties.

Isavuconazole was approved in the EU and U.S. in 2015 for treating adult patients with invasive aspergillosis and mucormycosis and has orphan drug designation for both indications. Basilea has now established partnerships for Cresemba in “most of the key markets around the world,” according to chief commercial officer, David Veitch.

Commenting on the latest agreement with Pfizer, Basilea CEO Ronald Scott said, “Pfizer is a world-leading pharmaceutical company in the anti-infective space with a long and successful track record of commercializing antifungals. This collaboration will allow us to further optimize the value of this key asset in an important region of the world. The transaction will provide Basilea with additional financial flexibility to pursue targeted transactions to strengthen our two portfolio pillars focused on overcoming resistance: anti-infectives and oncology.”

Richard Blackburn, global president of Pfizer Europe, Africa/Middle East, and Biosimilars, added, “The addition of Cresemba to Pfizer’s broad antifungal portfolio reaffirms our commitment to provide innovative treatments to patients who are increasingly susceptible to life-threatening fungal infections.”

Within the last 24 hours, Basilea announced a distribution and license agreement with Avir Pharma for both Cresemba and Basilea's marketed antibiotic Zevtera® (ceftobiprole) in Canada. Ceftobiprole is approved in a number of European and non-European countries for treating adult patients with community-acquired pneumonia and hospital-acquired pneumonia (excluding ventilator-associated pneumonia), but has not yet been approved in the U.S. Ceftobiprole has been granted qualified infectious disease product designation by the FDA for the potential treatment of community-acquired bacterial pneumonia and acute bacterial skin and skin structure infections (ABSSSI).

In April 2016, Basilea signed a contract with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to support a Phase III ceftobiprole trials program with a view to achieving FDA approval. Earlier this week, the firm reported the award of an additional $54.8 million under the potentially $108 million BARDA contract to support two cross-supportive studies evaluating ceftobiprole in the treatment of Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infections and ABSSSI.

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