Tuesday, Feb 15, 2000
South San Francisco, Calif. -- February 15, 2000 --Genentech, Inc. (NYSE: DNA) and Actelion Ltd. today announced the signing of an agreement for the development and co-promotion of tezosentan in the United States. The companies will co-promote tezosentan upon receiving approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Under the terms of this agreement, both Actelion and Genentech will be involved in the marketing of tezosentan in the United States. While Actelion is leading the development effort, Genentech will lead the commercialization of tezosentan. As part of the transaction, Genentech will pay Actelion an upfront fee of $15 million along with additional milestone payments. In addition, Genentech will make an equity investment in Actelion's upcoming initial public offering (IPO). Actelion's sales force will also be involved in the future co-promotion of Genentech's single-bolus thrombolytic drug TNKase (Tenecteplase), which also is pending approval by the FDA.
Tezosentan, which is being developed for the potential treatment of acute heart failure, demonstrated encouraging results in Phase II clinical trials. Tezosentan, the first endothelin receptor antagonist optimized for acute use, is in advanced Phase III clinical development and may be the first therapy of its kind to reach the market. Tezosentan is a small molecule that acts by blocking endothelin receptors. Actelion licensed tezosentan from Hoffmann-La Roche in 1998.
"This agreement represents a major step forward for Actelion just before our IPO, which we expect to occur in April," said Jean-Paul Clozel, CEO of Actelion. "We are delighted to have Genentech as a partner because of the company's scientific excellence and its strong marketing presence in the cardiovascular hospital market."
"We are excited about this collaboration because tezosentan is a novel therapy that is in line with the strategic direction of our cardiovascular focus area," said Nick Simon, vice president of Business and Corporate Development of Genentech. "There are significant potential marketing synergies that exist between tezosentan and TNKase once they are approved, including the same customer-base, which makes this a good fit."
In patients with acute heart failure, the heart is unable to pump adequate amounts of blood, resulting in poor cardiac output. It is the number one cause of hospitalization in the elderly population. More than 1.5 million patients are hospitalized per year for acute heart failure in the U.S. No new drugs have been registered for this indication in the past 10 years.
Genentech, Inc. is a leading biotechnology company that discovers, develops, manufactures and markets human pharmaceuticals for significant unmet medical needs. Thirteen of the approved products of biotechnology stem from Genentech science. Genentech markets eight products directly in the United States. The company has headquarters in South San Francisco, California and is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DNA.
Located in Allschwil, Switzerland, Actelion Ltd. is an emerging pharmaceutical company aiming to bring to the market innovative proprietary drugs through creative science related to endothelium. Founded in December 1997, Actelion Ltd. is backed by leading international venture capital and private investment funds.
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