PDL BioPharma, Inc. Pays $65.6 Million For Portion Of University of Michigan's Royalty Interest In Genzyme Corporation Drug

Published: Nov 07, 2014

PDL BioPharma, Inc. Pays $65.6 Million For Portion Of University of Michigan's Royalty Interest In Genzyme Corporation Drug

November 7, 2014

By Krystle Vermes, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

PDL BioPharma announced on Nov. 6 that it had acquired a portion of the University of Michigan’s royalty interest in Cerdelga for approximately $65 million. Cerdelga, which is also known as eliglustat, is an oral therapy for adults with Guacher disease type 1.

Genzyme, a Sanofi company, originally developed the drug. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Cerdelga back on Aug. 19. As a result of the deal, PDL will receive 75 percent of all royalty payments due under the university’s license agreement with Genzyme until all of the patents expire.

Cerdelga is a novel ceramide analog that is designed to inhibit the enzyme glucosylceramide synthase, which results in reduced production of glucosylceramide. Glucosylceramide builds up in the cells and tissues of people who have Gaucher disease. Prior to Genzyme receiving the license for cerdelga, Norman Radin and James Shayman of the University of Michigan developed the drug.

"Our acquisition of the Cerdelga royalties significantly adds to our already diversified portfolio of biopharmaceutical royalties," said John McLaughlin, president and chief executive officer of PDL BioPharma. "We continue to provide leading institutions, such as the University of Michigan, with capital that will allow them to pursue their funding initiatives, while also allowing PDL to acquire meaningful income generating assets and to create shareholder value."

Cerdelga was originally developed to provide an oral therapy for Gaucher disease type 1 and offer a wider range of treatment options to patients. Genzyme’s clinical development program for the drug is the largest ever conducted for the disease, incorporating 400 patients in 29 countries.

"Cerdelga represents the first chemical entity invented at the University of Michigan to receive FDA approval and illustrates the societal benefits of transferring discoveries from university research," said Kenneth Nisbet, associate vice president for the Research Technology Transfer at the University of Michigan. "We're very pleased with our agreement with PDL which enables us to accelerate our investments in research and education. We strongly believe in Cerdelga's potential, which is why we have retained a portion of the royalty rights."

PDL has a portfolio of royalty assets and patents with numerous biopharmaceutical companies. The company is responsible for pioneering the humanization of monoclonal antibodies and discovering a new generation of targeted treatments for cancer.

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