- Pfizer has inked a deal with the Swiss pharma company Basilea Pharmaceutica for exclusive rights to sell Basilea's anti-fungal treatment Cresemba (isavuconazole) in Europe, as well as in Russia, Turkey and Israel.
- In return, Basilea will receive 70 million Swiss francs (roughly $72 million) upfront and is eligible for as much as $427 million in regulatory and sales milestones, as well as mid-teen royalties on sales of Cresemba by Pfizer in the agreed-upon territories.
- Back in 2010, Basilea had handed Astellas Pharma exclusive rights to commercialize Cresemba — then in Phase 3 testing — while retaining an option to co-promote in the U.S., Canada, Europe and China. The two companies amended the deal in 2014, with Basilea trading its co-promotion option for full rights outside of the U.S. and Canada.
Cresemba, a once-daily intravenous and oral broad-spectrum antifungal, was approved in the U.S. in March 2015 and in Europe in October 2015 for the treatment of invasive aspergillosis and invasive mucormycosis (also known as zygomycosis). It has an orphan drug designation in both the U.S. and Europe.
After trading back with Astellas for full rights outside the U.S. and Canada, Basilea is now sending Pfizer exclusive rights in some of those geographies for a financial boost.
"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," said Basilea CEO Ronald Scott in a separate statement from Basilea.
Basilea is seeking further partnerships for Cresemba and for its antibiotic Zevtera (ceftobiprole).
Besides the Pfizer deal, Basilea has signed a number of distribution agreements for Cresemba, including with Hikma Pharmaceuticals for the Middle East and North Africa, Grupo Biotoscana for Latin America, Avir Pharma in Canada and Unimedic in the Nordic countries. Asahi Kasei Pharma has an exclusive development and commercialization agreement for Japan.
For Pfizer, adding Cresemba builds upon its December 2016 acquisition of AstraZeneca's small-molecule anti-infective business.
Fungal infections affect millions of people worldwide, with around 1.5 million people developing invasive infections — some with very high mortality rates. There are as many 200,000 cases of invasive aspergillosis alone. The available antifungal agents, while effective, can be toxic.