When the product comes back
By Karen Bernstein

Many biotech companies give away their babies. Whether because they need cash, or because they need the marketing clout of a bigger company, or to gain the validation on Wall Street that comes with having a pharmaceutical company as a partner, licensing one's early products is a frequent occurrence.

But goodbye isn't always forever. A partner's strategic focus may change, it may not meet its contractual obligations, or it may decide it doesn't like the product. In those situations, the biotech partner may end up reacquiring its product - and wondering how to explain to the world why it knows better than its partner did.

When partners lag

"The industry is littered with situations where companies have found their partners weren't moving forward," said Incyte Pharmaceuticals Inc. President Roy Whitfield. He guessed that at least half of all such agreements are terminated. Incyte is one of six companies BioCentury talked to about their experiences reacquiring products.