November 7, 2014
The University of Michigan signed an agreement with PDL BioPharma Inc. to sell a portion of its royalty interest in Cerdelga (eliglustat) capsules, a first-line oral treatment for adults with Gaucher disease type 1.
The university granted a license to Genzyme Corp. to develop the drug. It gained Food and Drug Administration approval in August.
Gaucher disease is an inherited disorder in which lipid-engorged cells amass in many of the body's organs and tissues, affecting approximately 10,000 patients worldwide.
Under the terms of the royalty agreement, PDL will pay U-M $65.6 million and receive 75 percent of all royalty payments due under U-M's license agreement with Genzyme until expiration of the licensed patents, excluding any patent term extension.
"Our acquisition of the Cerdelga royalties significantly adds to our already diversified portfolio of biopharmaceutical royalties," said John McLaughlin, president and chief executive officer of PDL BioPharma, an Incline Village, Nev.-based biotech company.
"We continue to provide leading institutions such as the University of Michigan with capital that will allow them to pursue their funding initiatives, while also allowing PDL to acquire meaningful income generating assets and to create shareholder value."
Cerdelga offers an alternative to other approved Gaucher disease type 1 treatments — intravenous enzyme replacement therapy. Cerdelga is the only first-line oral treatment for adults with Gaucher disease type 1.
"Cerdelga represents the first chemical entity invented at U-M to achieve FDA approval and illustrates the societal benefits of transferring discoveries from university research," said Ken Nisbet, U-M associate vice president for research-tech transfer.
"We're very pleased with our agreement with PDL, which enables us to accelerate our investments in research, innovation and education. We strongly believe in Cerdelga's potential, which is why we have retained a portion of the royalty rights."
The target of this compound was initially proposed by the late Norman Radin of U-M. The drug was developed by Dr. James Shayman, professor of pharmacology and internal medicine, prior to and after licensing the compound to Genzyme, a Sanofi company, in 2000.