Monday, September 29, 1997
The announcement by Immunex Corp. of a North American co-promotion
agreement with Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories for Enbrel, IMNX's tumor necrosis factor
receptor to treat advanced rheumatoid arthritis, may be more significant for
what it says about the future of IMNX than the potential $100 million the biotech
company stands to earn from the deal.
In contrast to many biotech funny-money deals, this one has significant
milestones that can be achieved fairly rapidly - made possible because Enbrel is a
late-stage product. American Home Products (New York, N.Y.), which owns 54 percent of
IMNX, will provide the biotech company with a $15 million signing fee, $20 million upon
filing a BLA with the FDA, and $30 million upon FDA approval. Other milestone payments
would be triggered by label expansion of Enbrel for patients with early-stage RA, and
achievement of sales targets. IMNX is targeting its BLA submission for 1998.