COR Therapeutics Inc. received $20 million from Schering-PloughCorp. and could get another $100 million in milestones in acollaboration on COR's platelet aggregation inhibitor, Integrelin.
A Phase III trial of Integrelin has been completed for treating theincidence of clinical events following coronary angioplasty. Resultsare expected to be unblinded this quarter, officials from bothcompanies said.
The $20 million up-front fee did not include an equity investment.COR's stock (NASDAQ:CORR) was up $1.25 Tuesday, or 10.2percent, to close at $13.50 in trading of 862,000 shares.
While the companies aren't releasing details of milestone-triggeringevents, Vaughn Kailian, president and CEO of South San Francisco-based COR, said it is safe to assume they relate to performances inthe completed Phase III trial and one recently started in unstableangina, as well as geographical achievements.
The deal covers all potential indications of Integrelin, a syntheticpeptide that inhibits GPIIb-IIIa, the receptor that mediates plateletaggregation that form blockages in the artery.
Mark Simon, managing director of Robertson Stephens & Co. in SanFrancisco, said COR "cut a fantastic deal. They got everything theywanted."
Some of the benefits cited by Simon to BioWorld include the near-term cash without equity dilution, funding for Phase III trials inwhich Schering-Plough will pay three-quarters of the costs, keepingcertain co-promotion rights, double-digit royalties and the ability toco-promote Schering-Plough's product Imdur for angina, which willhelp COR gets its sales force going.
"[COR] always intended to carry this to the point where they wouldgain the maximum value," Simon said. "They feel this is that point intime." He said COR needed a "pharmaceutical giant" to go up againstothers that have or are developing similar products: Merck & Co.Inc., Eli Lilly and Co., and Roche Holding Ltd.
Steve Galpin Jr., director of public information for Madison, N.J.-based Schering-Plough, told BioWorld the "agreement reflects thevalue of the product as we perceive it: its very large commercialpotential, the medical benefits it brings and the fact that it's wellalong in clinical development.
"Much is already known about its medical benefits and side-effectprofile," Galpin said. "This would serve to greatly lessen theprogram's downside risk and enhance its value."
Simon said the IIb-IIIa class of compounds is probably a $1 billionmarket in the U.S. in unstable angina, heart attacks and angioplastyindications. In addition to the completed and ongoing Phase III trials,COR has just completed a Phase II trial of Integrelin in acutemyocardial infarction.
COR's Phase III trial in the setting of coronary angioplasty involved4,010 patients at 82 centers. Kailian said Phase II data showed a 12.2percent event rate that dropped to 6 percent for Integrelin patients.Events include repeat angioplasty, coronary bypass surgery, stentplacement, heart attack and death.
COR, in addition to having three-quarters of development costscovered by Schering-Plough, has the right to co-promote the productin the U.S. and Canada. After getting double-digit royalties for aperiod in Europe, COR then would gain the right to co-promotethere, too. COR also will get help from Schering-Plough indeveloping and training a cardiovascular sales force.
COR reported $94.4 million in cash and equivalents at the end of1994. It had about 19.2 million shares outstanding. n
-- Jim Shrine
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