GlaxoSmithKline bails on Basilea's eczema drug, nixing a $72M payout

GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) has abandoned its plot to win FDA approval for an eczema treatment from Basilea Pharmaceutica, ending a project that could have paid its partner about $72 million plus royalties.

GSK bought into the drug, alitretinoin, in 2012 with a $225 million cash payment that gave it global rights to the treatment, which is marketed in 29 countries under the brand name Toctino.

Now, the U.K. drugmaker is keeping its rights to Basilea's drug around the world but canceling plans to develop it in the U.S. Basilea said it has the option to re-acquire alitretinoin's stateside fate but didn't disclose how much that might cost.

The setback comes as the Basel, Switzerland-headquartered Basilea seeks a partner for ceftobiprole, an antibiotic slated to enter Phase III this year. The company had planned to raise about $190 million in a U.S. IPO but nixed that effort last year as market conditions soured. Now, in order to fund ceftobiprole's future, the company is in search of a collaborator to help foot the bill.

Basilea is also at work on BAL101553, a cancer treatment now in Phase I/II development, along with early-stage therapies in oncology and infectious disease.

- read the statement