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Vicarius Pharma Launches With $21.8 Million and Will be Helmed by Former Biogen (BIIB)-Elan (ELN) Exec

8/14/2017 5:38:30 AM

Vicarius Pharma Launches With $21.8 Million and Will be Helmed by Former Biogen-Elan Exec August 14, 2017
By Alex Keown, Breaking News Staff

KUESSNACHT, Switzerland – Startup Vicarius Pharma AG nabbed $21.8 billion in Series A funding as the company launches with a goal to provide U.S.-based biotechs an easier and more efficient way to commercialize assets in European markets.

The new company said its approach to business partnerships will benefit U.S. companies because it will allow those companies to retain control of assets and earn greater value. Vicarius also indicated its model will save U.S. companies money, which is sure to perk up some C-suite ears. In its announcement this morning, Vicarius said traditional business routes in Europe requires U.S. “innovator companies” to invest significant resources into building an infrastructure in Europe, or certain partnerships will call for U.S. companies to sign away rights and value to assets.

“Vicarius’ innovative approach enables U.S. companies to retain control of their assets and extract significantly greater value. Vicarius acts as the innovator’s go-to-market organization for Europe, building a customer-facing organization and commercializing the asset in the innovator’s name, while absorbing all launch costs,” the company said in its announcement.

As part of its model, Vicarius said it aims to commercialize partner assets in Europe by providing “strategic advice on regulatory, pricing and commercial strategy, holding the marketing authorization and taking legal and operational responsibility for the asset in Europe” The company touted its business model as “particularly attractive for companies with specialty, rare disease and hospital products.”

Vicarius said innovator companies seeking a foothold in Europe that end up partnering with it will retain strategic control over any research and development. Additionally, Vicarius said partner companies will retain the flexibility to recover at any time the asset and dedicated organization built by Vicarius.
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When it comes to developing partnerships, Vicarius is predicting strong results for its business model. The startup company said total returns achieved through “Vicarius’ unique partnership model” are expected to be 1.5 to two times greater than through traditional partnering strategies.

Taking the helm at Vicarius is Hans Peter Hasler, who formerly served as chief operating officer at both Biogen (BIIB) and Elan Pharmaceuticals. While at Biogen, Hasler was behind the company’s move into the biosimilar market and was also instrumental in the in-licensing of multiple sclerosis drug Tecfidera.

The Series A funding was supported by James Mullen, chief executive officer of Patheon (PTHN) and former CEO of Biogen. Mullen is also serving as executive chairman of Vicarius’ board of directors.

“Commercializing novel products in Europe has always presented a challenge for emerging and mid-size companies,” Mullen said in a statement. “Vicarius has created a truly novel approach for companies to capture more value on their assets. The management team has extensive, proven track records in successfully ushering products through the commercialization process, resulting in successful launches and long-term sales growth. The economic returns and the strategic flexibility of partnerships with Vicarius will appeal to innovators, their boards and shareholders.”

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