When I saw that XOMA
And then I got to the fifth bullet point of the press release, and suddenly the deal didn't look quite so bad. XOMA has retained the right to buy back the U.S. and Japan rights to XOMA 052 in diabetes and cardiovascular indications. Once it does that -- for some undisclosed amount -- it could relicense the drug to some other company. XOMA is trying to have its cake and eat it, too.
Of course, that means the size of the cake is fairly small. XOMA is only getting $15 million up front from France-based Laboratoires Servier for turning over ex-U.S. rights to XOMA 052. Servier is also loaning XOMA about $20 million to help its cash position.
Servier will pay the first $50 million for the cost of clinical trials testing XOMA against a rare eye disease called Behcet's uveitis. From there, the companies will split the costs, since XOMA has retained the U.S. rights to that indication.
Behcet's uveitis is the fastest pathway to approval for XOMA 052, but the diabetes and cardiovascular disease indications offer much more potential. While some orphan drugs are blockbusters -- Genzyme's
A hit in diabetes, on the other hand, could result in an instant blockbuster, given the market size. GlaxoSmithKline's
The deal will help tide over XOMA, but the company's long-term potential still lies solely on the shoulders of XOMA 052's ability to treat diabetes.
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