Pfizer ($PFE) signs separate agreements with Lpath, Phylogica

Pfizer ($PFE) has had a busy day, signing separate pacts with two biotech companies: one with Lpath for a product candidate to treat ophthalmology disorders, and the other with Australia's Phylogica to discover peptide-based vaccines.

San Diego-based Lpath will provide Pfizer with an exclusive option for a worldwide license to develop and commercialize iSONEP, which is being evaluated for the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration and other ophthalmology disorders. Pfizer will provide Lpath with an upfront option payment of $14 million in addition to sharing the cost of the planned Phase Ib and IIa trials. Following completion of the studies, Pfizer has the right to exercise its option for worldwide rights to iSONEP for an undisclosed option fee. If Pfizer exercises its option, Lpath will be eligible to receive development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments that could total up to $497.5 million, as well as tiered double-digit royalties based on sales of the product.

As part of the agreement, Lpath has granted to Pfizer a time-limited right of first refusal for ASONEP, Lpath's product candidate that is being evaluated for the treatment of cancer. Two Phase IIa trials are currently planned to further assess ASONEP's efficacy and safety in cancer patients.

"This risk sharing collaboration is led by our External Research Unit, whose mission is to develop high-impact medicines leveraging a virtual R&D model. We look forward to building the External Research Unit's portfolio through additional innovative deals with prospective future partners," says Uwe Schoenbeck, Pfizer's VP and CSO of External R&D Innovation.

The Phylogica collaboration and licensing agreement involves the discovery of novel peptide-based vaccines. Phylogica will employ its proprietary Phylomer drug discovery platform to identify peptides suitable for further evaluation. Under the agreement, Phylogica will grant Pfizer certain rights, including an option to license any resulting Phylomers for further research, development and commercialization of novel peptide-based vaccines. As the Sydney Morning Herald points out, suitable targets include protein interactions that promote multiple conditions, including infectious diseases, cancer, autoimmunity and heart disease.

Phylogica will receive an upfront payment of $500,000 and is eligible to receive a commercial license payment. In addition, it is eligible to receive preclinical, clinical and other milestone payments of up to $134 million and royalties on worldwide sales. "This alliance supports the potential utility of Phylogica's Phylomer drug discovery platform for peptide-based drug discovery," says Paul Watt, the founder and CEO of Phylogica, in a statement. "With the present announcement, Phylogica has now entered into three alliances with global pharmaceutical companies within the last 12 months." 

Phylogica was incorporated in 2001 as a spin out from Perth's Telethon Institute for Child Health Research and the Fox Chase Cancer Center, based in Philadelphia, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

- read the Lpath release
- check out the Phylogica release
- get more from the Sydney Morning Herald