Pfizer acquires the rights to a stem-cell drug from Athersys

Pfizer Inc, the world's biggest drugmaker by sales, is acquiring the rights to a stem-cell therapy to treat inflammatory bowel disease from biotechnology company Athersys, Inc. for $6 million upfront payment and another potential $105 million in milestone payments.

Pfizer and Athersys have entered into an agreement to develop and commercialise MultiStem for the treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

MultiStem is an investigational stem cell therapy currently in development by Athersys for several other conditions, including acute myocardial infarction, bone marrow transplant support, and ischemic stroke.

Under the terms of the agreement, the Ohio-based Athersys, founded in 1995, will receive an up-front cash payment of $6 million from Pfizer, as well as research funding and support during the initial phase of the collaboration.

In addition, Athersys will receive milestone payments of up to $105 million upon the successful achievement of certain development, regulatory and commercial milestones.

Pfizer will take the onus for development, regulatory and commercialisation and will pay Athersys tiered royalties on worldwide commercial sales of MultiStem IBD products.