PHARMACY

Cubist acquires Illumigen in potential $341.5 million deal

BY Adam Kraemer

SEATTLE and LEXINGTON, Mass. Cubist Pharmaceuticals may pay up to $341.5 million to buy Illumigen Biosciences, adding an experimental treatment for hepatitis C, a blood-borne virus that can damage the liver, to its pipeline.

Lexington, Massachusetts-based Cubist, the maker of the skin-infection drug Cubicin, will pay $9 million to acquire Seattle-based Illumigen, plus a potential $332.50 million in regulatory and drug development payments, the companies said today in a statement.

The purchase of Illumigen will add an experimental HCV treatment, called IB657, to Cubist’s portfolio of infection-fighting medicines. The HCV market, the companies said in a statement, was $2.2 billion in 2005 and is expected to reach $4.4 billion in 2010.

Cubist will make payments during the development of IB657 for hepatitis of up to $75.5 million and an additional $117 million if Cubist develops Illumigen products for other viruses, the companies said. The company will pay up to $140 million in milestone payments once products reach the market.

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Stake in drug-testing contractor purchased in $3 billion-plus deal

BY Adam Kraemer

NEW YORK In a deal worth a reported $3 billion-plus, One Equity Partners’ stake in drug trial manager Quintiles Translational is being sold to its chief executive and other buyout firms, including Bain Capital and TPG Capital, according to The New York Times.

Dennis Gillings, founder of Quintiles and its chief executive officer and chairman, has teamed up with Bain and TPG to take control of the stake from One Equity, the private equity arm of JPMorgan Chase, which also sponsored the company’s $1.7 billion buyout in 2003.

Gillings had previously offered to buy the company in 2002 for $1.3 billion, but that number was rejected as being too low.

Quintiles, based in Research Triangle Park, N.C., has more than 19,000 employees. At the time of its founding in 1982, Gillings was a professor of biostatistics at the University of North Carolina. The company went public in 1994.

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Jazz, Solvay receive approvable letter from FDA regarding extended-release Luvox

BY Adam Kraemer

PALO ALTO, Calif. The Food and Drug Administration issued an approvable letter for Jazz Pharmaceuticals’ Once-a-Day Luvox CR (fluvoxamine maleate), which the company is trying to market as an extended-release capsule indicated for the treatment of social anxiety disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder.

Jazz has teamed up with Solvay Pharmaceuticals to market the drug. The FDA earlier this month approved the regular formulation of Luvox for the treatment of OCD.

The companies are seeking clarification from the FDA and look forward to working with the FDA to resolve any issues as quickly as possible. They stressed that the approvable letter did not raise any questions related to the safety or efficacy of Luvox CR.

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