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Jul 20, 2009
 |  BioCentury  |  Product Development

Betting that Best Trumps First

In the last five months, Portola Pharmaceuticals Inc. has done deals for its two lead compounds in large cardiovascular indications, bringing in $125 million in nondilutive upfront money that will fund the rest of its pipeline at least through 2012. While neither compound is first in class, the company believes both have properties that will make them best in class.

Earlier this month, Merck & Co. Inc. paid $50 million up front for worldwide rights to betrixaban (PRT054021), a Factor Xa inhibitor that is slated to enter Phase III testing next year to prevent stroke in atrial fibrillation (AF) patients. Merck could pay up to $420 million in milestones, plus double-digit royalties. Portola retains options to co-fund the Phase III program in return for additional royalties, and to co-promote the product in the U.S.

February's deal with Novartis AG for elinogrel, a reversible ADP receptor (P2Y12) antagonist to treat acute coronary syndrome (ACS), netted...

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