Vertex aims to sell telaprevir milestone payments

Vertex Pharmaceuticals has decided to sell the rights to future milestone payments for the development and marketing of its hepatitis C drug telaprevir. While Vertex has retained the North American rights to the drug, partner Janssen Pharmaceutica, a Johnson & Johnson company, licensed the European rights in 2006. Janssen agreed to pay the drug developer $250 million in milestone payments.

The Cambridge, MA-based Vertex said in a statement today that it anticipates milestone payments of $100 million related to regulatory filings and approval and another $150 million tied to the market launch, both of which are expected by April 2012. Vertex hopes to sell these future payments for a lump sum cash payment.

The highly anticipated telaprevir is currently being evaluated in three Phase III studies, with more than 2,200 patients enrolled in the U.S. and Europe. The partners plan to file for approval in the U.S. and Europe in 2010.

- read the Vertex release