12:00 AM
Dec 13, 2010
 |  BioCentury  |  Strategy

Cephalon Blasts into CV

Cephalon enters cardiovascular space with Mesoblast stem cell deal

Cephalon Inc. continued its expansion into specialty disease areas last week via a partnership with Mesoblast Ltd. that marks Cephalon's first foray into the cardiovascular space.

Cephalon received worldwide rights to Mesoblast's adult Mesenchymal Precursor Stem Cell (MPC) technology in three treatment areas: neurodegenerative disease; augmenting hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in cancer patients; and cardiovascular disease.

Mesoblast's technology can isolate and expand adult MPCs from a variety of sources, such as bone marrow and cord blood.

The first two treatment areas fit Cephalon's current business. The company's main focus was pain and CNS until 2005, when it entered the cancer space through product and company acquisitions. Once the cancer business became cash positive, Cephalon started building an inflammatory disease franchise the same way (see BioCentury, Jan. 19, 2009).

While this is Cephalon's first foray into regenerative medicine, COO J. Kevin Buchi told BioCentury that he views this deal as "an entry into another specialty pharmaceutical market area, particularly cardiovascular disease where there is much unmet medical need, especially congestive heart failure."

Mesoblast's allogeneic MPCs are in a Phase II trial to treat CHF.

Buchi noted that CHF is treated by a limited number of specialists, and thus a company would need a sales force of only about 200.

In addition, he said the high likelihood of reimbursement also made the deal attractive.

"When you look at the U.S. healthcare system, the number one major unmet medical need is cardiovascular disease, especially congestive heart failure. These patients just get worse and worse and spend lots of time in the hospital, and then they either die or get a heart transplant. This product...

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