Monday, May 24, 1993
By Karen Bernstein
Last of two parts
Getting back a product previously licensed to a larger partner can pose challenges to a biotech company, which often must prove to the outside world that there are valid reasons to continue development. Last week, BioCentury looked at the most difficult cases - those where there was negative data. In those situations, there's nothing to do except produce new, better data.
But many times the product is not the issue. Changing priorities at the partner, often experienced as a slower development schedule or less aggressive marketing effort than the smaller party desires, can result in the project being sent back home.
When diverging interests are the problem, especially if the larger partner maintains some interest in the product, it may be easier to sell the buy back story to the outside world. But it may also be that the smaller company has to pay up front or in the form of future royalties to get the product back.
Room to maneuver
In cases where the product isn't the problem, companies have more room to maneuver and the resulting deal should reflect that. In late 1991, Connaught Laboratories launched MedImmune Inc.'s CytoGam, a polyclonal antibody for prevention of cytomegalovirus in kidney transplantation. Then in May 1992, MEDI announced that Connaught had significantly reduced its first-year sales projections.