InterMune gambles millions on Phase III success

InterMune is gambling that a late-stage trial will provide conclusive data for its experimental drug pirfenidone. The biotech has agreed to pay $13.5 million up front for the European and U.S. patent rights to the experimental drug. Up to $53.5 million more will go to Marnac and co-licensor KDL GmbH in milestones for the drug. InterMune will also acquire worldwide rights to certain additional intellectual property for pirfenidone that was not licensed under the previous licensing agreement, including patents relating to the TNF-alpha activities of the compound.

"If our Phase III CAPACITY program of pirfenidone in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is successful and we register the compound for commercialization, we will enjoy the economic benefit of avoiding $14.5 million in milestone payments and the 9 percent royalty on net sales, otherwise due under the license agreement," says CEO Dan Welch.

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