Last month, private biopharma firm Catalyst Bio entered into a definitive merger agreement with North Carolina-based Targacept to form a public company focused on using engineered human proteases to develop haemophilia drugs.
A major strength of the deal was the development of its lead product PF-05280602 – an engineered Factor VIIa drug candidate that recently completed a Phase I clinical trial – which was being co-developed with Pfizer, following a 2009 deal struck between Catalyst Bio and Wyeth (since bought by the Biopharma Giant).
But in an SEC filing dated earlier this week, Targacept announced Pfizer “would be exercising its right to terminate in its entirety the June 29, 2009, research and license agreement” after receiving formal written notice on April 2.
“Upon the June 1, 2015, effective date of the termination, the license and certain rights under the research and license agreement will terminate and revert to Catalyst,” the filing said.
“Targacept is currently reviewing the implications of this event on the proposed Merger.”
Catalyst Bio estimates the haemophilia market to be worth approximately $1.5bn and claims its protease-engineered Factor VIIa candidate enables lower and fewer doses of an engineered to control bleeding episodes.
The firm is also developing four additional drugs targeting haemophilia: an improved Factor IX for hemophilia B, an engineered Factor Xa, and two novel proteases for the treatment of complement-mediated disorders.
Last year, Baxter signalled its intention to focus on its heaemophilia pipeline with a deal to buy Chatham Therapeutics and its gene therapy delivered technology platform for $70m, while Bayer invested $700m in its recombinant Factor VIII manufacturing capabilities.