Eagle soars as Teva steps up with $120M pact for a rival to Treanda franchise

When Eagle Pharmaceuticals set out more than a year ago to raise cash in the hot IPO market, it touted a near future in which its rapid infusion bendamustine for chronic lymphocytic leukemia and indolent B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (EP-3102) could eat into the growing market for Teva's ($TEVA) Treanda. On Tuesday, Teva essentially validated that strategy, moving to in-license the product ahead of an FDA marketing decision. And Eagle's stock ($EGRX) shot up 24% on the news of the pact.

Teva is paying Eagle $30 million upfront and up to $90 million in milestones in exchange for the lead commercial role in the U.S. market. And it's ready to wave its orphan drug exclusivity arrangement with the feds to allow 3102 into the market as soon as possible.

Woodcliff Lake, NJ-based Eagle established its reputation by tweaking injectables. And in this case its angling for a priority review of a drug already filed with the FDA. The program was already significantly de-risked by following a well-understood technology, and Teva was clearly won over by the prospects of a new product that required a significantly shorter infusion time for patients.

Teva recently reported $767 million in sales for Treanda last year. And Teva--which has been struggling to remake itself as generic competition for Copaxone looms--was buckling down for a patent fight before coming to terms with Eagle. 

"Since 2008, Teva's bendamustine HCl product, Treanda, has played a valuable role in the treatment of patients with CLL or indolent B-cell NHL that has progressed," stated Paul Rittman, the VP and general manager of Teva Oncology. "With a substantially shorter infusion time, Eagle's rapid infusion bendamustine HCl represents an important and improved benefit to both patients and healthcare providers. By adding this product to Teva's Oncology portfolio, we are furthering our commitment to enhancing treatment options for patients affected by cancer and executing on a business development strategy to pursue opportunities in therapeutic areas where we can apply our expertise, commercial infrastructure and experience."

- here's the release

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