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Pfizer to commercialize Basilea's Cresemba drug in Europe

Published 16 June 2017

Basilea Pharmaceutica International has signed a license agreement with Pfizer for its marketed antifungal Cresemba (isavuconazole) to treat life-threatening invasive mold infections.

Pfizer will have the right to manufacture isavuconazole and to exclusively commercialize the drug in Europe (excluding the Nordics), Russia, Turkey and Israel.

Under the terms of the agreement, Basilea will receive an upfront payment of CHF 70 million and will be eligible to receive up to USD 427 million in additional payments upon achievement of pre-specified regulatory and sales milestones. In addition, Basilea will also receive royalties in the mid-teen range on Pfizer's sales in the territory.

"Cresemba is a well differentiated drug that addresses a critical medical need in patients with invasive mold infections. This is reflected in its strong launch in the US as well as its solid performance in key European markets where Basilea launched and is currently commercializing the product," said Ronald Scott, Chief Executive Officer of Basilea.

"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. Basilea continues to demonstrate its ability to complete innovative transactions that optimize the value of our company for shareholders."

"The addition of Cresemba to Pfizer's broad anti-fungal portfolio, reaffirms our commitment to provide innovative treatments to patients who are increasingly susceptible to life-threatening fungal infections," said Richard Blackburn, Global President of Pfizer Europe, Africa/Middle East and Biosimilars. "We believe our well established global presence together with our deep knowledge of infectious diseases will enable us to meaningfully address a major unmet medical need."

David Veitch, Chief Commercial Officer of Basilea, added: "We have now established partnerships for Cresemba in most of the key markets around the world. We continue to work toward concluding agreements for the few remaining key markets. With regards to our antibiotic Zevtera, we will focus on exploring partnering opportunities in Europe and on initiating within the next few months the phase 3 clinical studies required for a registration in the U.S., which is the most relevant commercial opportunity for branded hospital antibiotics in the world."

The agreement is subject to customary regulatory approval. Subject to the transaction closing, Basilea anticipates its financial guidance for 2017 to improve with total operating expenses reduced to approximately CHF 9-10 million on average per month (net of anticipated BARDA reimbursements) and an operating loss of approximately CHF 2-3 million on average per month. Cresemba sales after closing will be booked by Pfizer.

Considering the collaboration with Pfizer, Basilea's total product sales are expected at approximately CHF 11 million for the year. The contribution from the transaction in 2017 is estimated at approximately CHF 6 million through revenue recognition and royalty payments. Estimates are subject to adjustment depending on the timing of regulatory approval for the transaction.

Source: Company Press Release