Issue Date: July 20, 2009
Vertex Will Sell Milestones On Drug
In an unusual strategy to raise cash, Vertex Pharmaceuticals wants to sell off potential milestone payments associated with the development and commercialization of its lead drug candidate, telaprevir, a hepatitis C virus protease inhibitor. A unit of Johnson & Johnson agreed in 2006 to pay Vertex $100 million upon filing for regulatory approval to sell telaprevir in Europe and another $150 million upon the launch of the drug. Vertex expects to receive that money before April 2012 but is seeking a third party to advance a "substantial portion" of the total. Although industry observers consider the drug promising, a buyer would still be taking a risk: Results from Phase III clinical trials of the drug won't be out until next year.
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