Clovis Oncology has agreed to sell its approved cancer drug Rubraca to a privately held Austrian company as part of an auction associated with its ongoing bankruptcy proceedings.
Pharma& Schwiez submitted the highest bid at the auction, according to a regulatory filing, and will pay $70 million upfront for rights to Rubraca, which is approved in the U.S. for prostate and ovarian cancers. The company could pay another $65 million if certain regulatory and sales milestones are later met.
The sale is subject to approval by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, where Clovis filed last December for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, an Indian company known for its generic drug business, was selected as the “back-up bidder” should the deal with Pharma& not go through.
Rubraca is one of several drugs of the same type, known as PARP inhibitors, that work by blocking enzymes involved in DNA repair. Clovis first won approval of it in the U.S. in late 2016, for ovarian cancer, and later expanded its use to include prostate cancer as well.
But Rubraca hasn’t been nearly as commercially successful as Lynparza, another PARP inhibitor sold by Merck & Co. and AstraZeneca. And Clovis, which previously expressed openness to an acquisition, hasn’t drawn the interest of large pharmaceutical companies like its competitor Tesaro, which GSK bought for $5.1 billion in 2018.
Shares steadily ticked downwards, shrinking the company’s market value, until late last year, when trading of Clovis shares was suspended on the Nasdaq Global Select Market. Shares were later delisted from the exchange.
Rubraca’s buyer, Pharma&, is based in Vienna, Austria. It describes its mission as “breathing new life into proven medicines,” and has previously bought rights in other, older medicines like the multiple myeloma drug Farydak and the chemotherapy bendamustine.