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PDL BioPharma said yesterday it acquired a portion of the University of Michigan (U-M) worldwide royalty interest in Cerdelga™ (eliglustat) for $65.6 million.

PDL will receive 75% of all royalty payments due under U-M’s license agreement with Genzyme until expiration of the licensed patents, excluding any patent term extension. The rate used to calculate the royalties to be paid by Genzyme to U-M was not disclosed.

Cerdelga is an oral therapy for adults with Gaucher disease type 1, developed by Genzyme, a Sanofi company, and approved August 19 by the FDA. Sanofi expects European regulators to decide on Cerdelga during this quarter, the company said Oct. 28 in releasing third-quarter results.

“Our acquisition of the Cerdelga royalties significantly adds to our already diversified portfolio of biopharmaceutical royalties,” John McLaughlin, PDL’s president and CEO, said in a statement.

That portfolio of patents and royalty assets has until now consisted primarily of its Queen et al. antibody humanization patents—which expire next month—and license agreements with various biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.

Last year, PDL generated $450 million in royalty revenues from numerous marketed drugs – led by Avastin (about $144.5 million) and  Herceptin ($141.6 million). Other drugs that generated royalties for PDL in 2013 included Lucentis, Xolair, Zynagis, Tysabri, Perjeta, and Kadcyla.

Cerdelga is an oral ceramide analog designed to fight Gaucher by partially inhibiting the enzyme glucosylceramide synthase, resulting in reduced production of glucosylceramide.

Cerdelga is the first chemical entity invented at U-M to receive FDA approval. The concept for the drug was initially developed by the late Norman Radin, Ph.D., and further developed by James A. Shayman, M.D., before and after the compound was licensed to Genzyme.

Kenneth Nisbet, avp for research—technology transfer at the University of Michigan, said the deal with PDL “enables us to accelerate our investments in research and education. We strongly believe in Cerdelga’s potential, which is why we have retained a portion of the royalty rights.

During its 2014 fiscal year, which ended June 30, U-M Tech Transfer received 439 invention disclosures, recorded 148 option and license agreements and launched 14 new startups.

 

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