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Baxter snags hemophilia candidate in $185M deal with Ipsen and broke biotech

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Baxter International ($BAX) is grabbing a hemophilia A candidate in late-stage development from partners whose collaboration ran aground last year. A long-time player in the hemophilia market, Baxter has agreed to fork over $50 million up front for the recombinant porcine factor VIII drug and a Boston-area manufacturing facility from French biotech heavyweight Ipsen and Inspiration Biopharmaceuticals, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year.

With bankruptcy court approval of the deal, Ipsen can begin to recoup some of the millions the company has poured into Inspiration since the two companies inked a collaboration to develop hemophilia candidates in 2010. Baxter has pledged up to $135 million in additional development and commercial milestones, plus a double-digit percentage on potential sales of the candidate known as OBI-1, with Ipsen due to garner the majority of money in the proposed deal.

Baxter is facing increased competition in the hemophilia arena as Biogen Idec ($BIIB) picks up steam with two long-acting clotting factors that aced Phase III studies last year and could take a chunk of the market if approved. The OBI-1 candidate gives Baxter a potential treatment for hemophilia A patients, with both congenital and acquired versions of the bleeding disease, with antibodies against human factor VIII therapies.  

"We view the overall agreement as favorable to Baxter as it allows them to add another hemophilia candidate to its deep pipeline for not a lot up front," Josh Jennings, an analyst with Cowen & Co., wrote in a note to investors today.

Yet Inspiration's bankruptcy saga, which began in October, continues. With the Cambridge, MA-based biotech in Chapter 11, the company and Ipsen still have plans to sell in a separate deal another late-stage hemophilia drug, IB1001, which was hit with a clinical hold from the FDA last year after patients taking the factor IV therapy developed antibodies.

Last year Ipsen agreed to keep Inspiration afloat with $18.3 million in debtor financing, and the French biotech has now extended $5 million more to fuel its partner during the sales of its assets.

- get the timeline of events in Ipsen's release    

Special Report: Inspiration Biopharmaceuticals - The 2012 Biotech Graveyard

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