Waksal inks pair of hepatitis C pacts for his start-up

Sam Waksal (photo) got a chance to flex his long neglected deal-making muscles with a pair of pacts with Valeant Pharmaceuticals ($VRX) that will help the ex-con build up a hepatitis C franchise as Valeant exits the R&D side of that business.

Waksal's start-up, Kadmon, gained most of the world rights to develop and commercialize taribavirin in exchange for $5 million upfront, unspecified milestones and a royalty stream that will scale between 8 percent and 12 percent. And Valeant gained some European commercial rights to all dosages of ribavirin for $7.5 million. That drug will now be marketed in Valeant's package of branded generics.

Valeant Chief Executive Michael Pearson has been moving out of development activities for hepatitis C as the company, created from the merger of Biovail and Valeant, restructures its R&D side to focus on CNS and dermatology.

"Kadmon is building upon its commercial platform in hepatitis C through expanded global distribution and the addition of complementary products," said Waksal, who spent five years in prison for his role in a notorious insider trading scandal. "Our agreements with Valeant achieve milestones for both of these objectives. Taribavirin completes our ribavirin franchise and will ensure its future sustainability and growth. We have also expanded our global distribution network for ribavirin into markets in which Valeant is a leading provider."

- check out the Kadmon release
- here's the Reuters report