Los Angeles-based Abraxis will provide ProMetic with development funding up to regulatory approval, in a deal that could earn the Canadian firm $8m in milestone payments and up to $287m in royalties if the products are brought to market.
As ProMetic CEO Pierre Laurin explained during a webcast, the deal will see the firm develop all the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) manufacturing processes. ProMetic will then be responsible for the good manufacturing process (GMP) accredited production of the APIs for all four drugs for both clinical development and subsequent commercialisation.
While Laurin did not identify the drug candidates covered by the agreement, he said that it is focused on “four high value, low regulatory risk [drugs] that have the potential for orphan designation.”
Laurin explained that: “These products are being brought to the market as a means to improve an existing therapeutic approach… and therefore represent a much lower risk.”
He added that this fits well with Abraxis’ approach, citing the considerable market share gained by latter’s side effect-reduced taxol product Abraxane as the basis for this opinion.
ProMetic already has manufacturing contracts across the pathogen removal, plasma therapeutics and biopharmaceuticals fields with firms including Pfizer, ZymoGenetics, Boehringer Ingelheim and OctaPharma.
Laurin went on to say that the “critical mass of projects [in which ProMetic is now involved] has resolved the excess manufacturing capacity that the firm had.” He explained that the firm had maintained a GMP infrastructure to attract industrial clients, but this had cost the firm a lot of money.
He said that this additional capacity would be used to fulfil both the Abraxis deal and other manufacturing contracts which, he added, will: “Turn a fixed cost [maintenance] overhead into a revenue producing asset.”
Laurin predicted that the new manufacturing deal could generate revenue of $90m a year if the projected sales targets are achieved.
Patrick Soon-Shiong, Abraxis’ CEO, echoed Laurin’s optimism. Soon-Shiong said that the agreement “makes key resources available to ProMetic, while providing Abraxis with access to leading protein technologies and products with excellent market potential.”