Genmab grabs $134M as it restructures blockbuster GSK pact

Just weeks after Lisa Drakeman (photo) departed the CEO's post at Genmab, GlaxoSmithKline has engineered a big change to the $2.1 billion deal it struck with the Danish developer more than three years ago on Arzerra (ofatumumab). The troubled Genmab, which has watched its share price slide 90 percent, is getting $134 million upfront on the revised pact, but sees its milestone package cut in half.

In the revised pact GSK takes responsibility for developing the therapy for autoimmune diseases while both companies collaborate on cancer. And GSK's funding commitment for the oncology work is capped at 145 million pounds overall with a 17 million pound annual limit.

"Their (GSK's) flexibility has allowed us to not only ensure that we extract the best possible value from ofatumumab, but also strengthen the financial security of Genmab," said Prof. Jan G.J. van de Winkel, Genmab's new chief. The changes will have a "material impact on Genmab's 2010 financial guidance," the company said in a statement.

Genmab had been one of the bright stars in the European biotech universe when it forged its original deal with GSK back at the end of 2006. That development deal also made Drakeman a star in biotech circles as well. Earlier this year several analysts had attracted attention speculating that GSK might swoop in to buy out Genmab, but those rumors have quieted in the wake of Drakeman's departure.

- check out the Genmab release
- here's the Reuters story