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Curis (Cambridge, Massachusetts), a drug development company focused on seeking to develop proprietary targeted medicines primarily for cancer treatment, reported that it has entered into an agreement to sell and assign its remaining BMP-7 technologies to Stryker (Kalamazoo, Michigan).

Curis’ BMP-7 assets primarily comprise intellectual property covering bone morphogenetic protein-7, or BMP-7, and its use for treating various diseases.

Curis will receive an initial payment of $1 million, which is net of a payment to be made by Curis to a former third party collaborator of Creative BioMolecules, a predecessor company involved in the 2000 merger that formed Curis. In addition to the initial payment, Stryker has agreed to make cash payments to Curis upon the successful achievement of specified clinical development and drug approval objectives. In lieu of royalty payments, Stryker has also agreed to pay additional cash payments upon the achievement of specified net product sales targets, should such targets be achieved within contractually-specified time periods that are based on the expiration of valid claims of Curis’ BMP-7 intellectual property.

Assuming that at least one product is successfully developed and commercialized by Stryker on a global basis, Curis said it could receive up to about $41 million in such payments. However, in connection with its receipt of such payments, Curis would be required to make payments of up to about $14 million to the former third-party collaborator if such product candidates or products are designed to treat certain indications affecting chronic kidney disease patients.

“While the completion of this agreement provides Curis with modest cash inflows, it also removes a significant patent portfolio from our internal cost structure, and allows us to continue our efforts to focus on our core small molecule cancer drug programs,” said Curis President/CEO Daniel Passeri. “Going into 2008, substantially all of Curis’ internal resources are committed to the development of targeted drug candidates, especially those focused on cancer indications.”

Passeri continued, “While these BMP-7 assets are currently in preclinical testing, we are hopeful that Stryker will work diligently to progress the BMP-7 assets into clinical testing. BMP-7 is a complicated protein and poses difficult challenges, particularly involving protein manufacturing. We believe that Stryker is uniquely suited to develop these assets since Stryker has deep experience with BMP-7, including the ability to produce clinical and commercial grade protein. Stryker currently offers OP-1 products, which contain BMP-7, for trauma and spine indications. We are hopeful that Stryker will move the BMP-7 assets towards clinical testing so that this promising preclinical technology can potentially provide a future benefit to patients.”

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