When it struck a deal to acquire Coulter Pharmaceutical Inc. last year for $570 million in stock, Corixa Corp. tried to cover its bases with an opt out of the takeover if the FDA failed to accept Coulter's BLA for Bexxar, a radiolabeled anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody to treat non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

The exit clause may have been prudent, given that Bexxar had gone nowhere at the FDA since Coulter first submitted a BLA in June 1999. Thus the deal was consummated at the end of last year after the agency accepted the Bexxar filing in November (see BioCentury Nov. 20, 2000).