Forest Labs scoops up diabetes programs in $1.1B TransTech deal

Faced with the loss of major patent protection in 2012, Forest Laboratories is gambling $50 million upfront and promising more than a billion dollars more to in-license early-stage diabetes meds from High Point, NC-based TransTech Pharma.

The licensing package includes TransTech's lead program--TTP399--which recently wrapped up its Phase I trial. And it includes other early-stage liver-selective Glucokinase Activators as well. Forest gains the commercial rights to the drugs in most of the world, leaving the Middle East and Africa to TransTech.

"We believe this novel class of compounds has the potential to be a major therapeutic advance in the treatment of diabetes," said TransTech founder and CEO Adnan M. M. Mjalli, Ph.D. "Our GKAs are specifically selected to improve glycemic control without exerting pressure on the pancreas to produce insulin. We are encouraged by early data suggesting potential additional decreases in serum lipids which tend to be elevated in diabetic patients."

In addition to the upfront and milestones, worth a collective $1.105 billion, Forest will pay TransTech Pharma unspecified royalties on worldwide product sales and will be responsible for development and commercialization costs. Forest is looking for new products to fill the revenue gap that will be left when Lexapro, an antidepressant, loses patent protection in 2012.

- here's the Forest release for more