Ipsen braces for $153M write-off as troubled biotech partner declares bankruptcy

Four months ago Inspiration Biopharmaceuticals was preparing for its commercial launch of a late-stage hemophilia therapy. Then in July the FDA clamped a clinical hold on the lead program and today the Cambridge, MA-based biotech's partner and primary financial backer Ipsen ($IPN) revealed that Inspiration had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as it prepared for a sale of its assets through the courts.

France's Ipsen will have plenty to say about the sale and disposition of the assets, which basically boil down to "commercial rights to OBI-1, a recombinant porcine factor VIII (rpFVIII) for the treatment of hemophilia A with inhibitors and IB1001, a recombinant factor IX (rFIX) for the treatment of hemophilia B." Ipsen controls 40% of the biotech and its $200 million in convertible bonds make it the only senior secured debt holder. The French company handed over $18.3 million in debtor-in-possession financing to help manage disposition of the assets and told investors that it's staring at a $153 million write-off on the troubled hemophilia drugs.

"The Chapter 11 filing and the proposed asset sale reflect the efforts by both Inspiration and Ipsen to find the best path to develop and commercialize their product candidates," says Ipsen CEO Marc de Garidel. "Both companies will now strive to find the best partner to provide both patients and the medical community with new therapeutic solutions."

Ipsen at first tried to minimize the fallout of the clinical hold, which was announced after patients in a study developed antibodies to the Chinese Hamster Ovary protein in IB1001. Weeks later Ipsen restructured its partnership with Inspiration, giving up its buyout option and sinking another $30 million in the developer, while promising $20 million more if Inspiration could round up a $30 million financing round. 

- here's the press release

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