The world's largest drug maker Pfizer Inc entered into a deal yesterday with Israel's biopharmaceutical firm Protalix Biotherapeutics Inc to develop and commercialise treatment for genetic metabolic disorder Gaucher's disease, setting the stage for a more vigorous competition with rival in the field, Genzyme Corporation.
Under the deal, Pfizer will pay Protalix $60 million upfront and further up to $55 million based on regulatory milestones. Both Pfizer and Protalix also agreed to share future revenues and expenditure related to the development and commercialisation of the drug taliglucerase alfa, on a 60:40 basis respectively.
Israel-based Protalix is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of recombinant therapeutic proteins based on its ProCellEx protein expression system.
Its Taliglucerase alfa, the first enzyme replacement therapy for the treatment of Gaucher's disease has completed Phase III clinical trials and Protalix is in the process of getting FDA approval for it. FDA has already granted permission to for emergency use of the drug.
Gaucher's disease is a hereditary disorder in which fatty substance (called Gaucher cells) accumulate in different parts of the body, primarily the spleen, liver and bone marrow. It is caused by deficiency of enzyme glucocerebrosidase that breaks down certain type of fat molecule, and results in spleen and liver enlargement, anemia, excessive bleeding, bone disease and other symptoms.
Rival Genzyme's best-selling drug for the treatment of the disease is Cerezyme, which is in short supply following a temporary shut-down of its plant earlier this year following virus contamination.