Navidea has inked a deal worth up to $310 million to offload its Lymphoseek diagnostic imaging agent for cancer to its longtime U.S. distributor Cardinal Health.
Dublin, OH-based Navidea will reel in $80 million at the deal’s close, but could stand to pick up sales-based milestone payments, bringing the transaction’s potential total to $310 million, according to a statement.
Navidea will hand over the rights for all approved, pending and future oncology applications for Lymphoseek in North America. The deal will also see Cardinal Health licensing back some intellectual property to Navidea, so that it can keep producing and marketing the Lymphoseek product outside of North America and develop and sell new products that don’t compete with Lymphoseek for the North American market. Cardinal Health has marketed the product since its launch.
Lymphoseek is a radioactive imaging agent designed to help spot lymph nodes most likely to be carrying cancer in patients with breast cancer or melanoma. It won FDA approval in March 2013 after an initial rejection 6 months earlier due to issues with a contract manufacturer. The approval followed testing on more than 540 people, which showed it had a higher degree of specificity than the typically used blue dye.
“This agreement with Cardinal Health will provide significant financial resources for us to repay all outstanding debt to CRG and accelerate the development of our robust pipeline of diagnostic products, which are notably focused on Rheumatoid Arthritis and Cardiovascular disease, as well as our Macrophage Therapeutics pipeline,” said Dr. Michael Goldberg, chairman of Navidea’s board.
Navidea has had a bumpy ride of late: its debt to CRG amounts to $50 million. And in May, the company was served with a restraining order keeping it from freezing its bank accounts, a move that would have rendered it incapable of paying its employees.