Pfizer Inc. (PFE) has reached an agreement to help Protalix Biotherapeutics Inc. (PLX) develop and commercialize a treatment for Gaucher's disease, getting up to $115 million in the process.
Shares of Protalix jumped 10% to $10.85 premarket on the news, and Pfizer was up 0.8% to $18.32.
The move comes as Genzyme Corp. (GENZ) in June had to suspend production of its Gaucher's treatment after a virus was found. The FDA in late August gave Protalix fast-track status, speeding up review of its product, which in October was reported to have met its primary goal in a late-stage trial.
Gaucher's disease affects about one in 20,000 live births and causes a fatty substance to develop in cells primarily in the liver, spleen and bone marrow.
Pfizer will pay Protalix $60 million up front and may make milestone payments of up to $55 million during development of the drug. The two companies will share future revenue and expenses for the development and commercialization of the drug, with Pfizer's share 60%.
"Pfizer and Protalix expect to quickly deliver an alternative treatment for people suffering from Gaucher's disease," said Pfizer executive David Simmons. The company will receive exclusive worldwide licensing rights for the commercialization of the drug, while Protalix will keep its commercialization rights in Israel.
-By Nathan Becker, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2855; firstname.lastname@example.org
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