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Tuesday, Apr 16, 2024
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Seattle Firm Buys Biogen Idec Drug

Seattle-based biotechnology firm Cell Therapeutics Inc. said Aug. 16 it will buy the rights to cancer treatment Zevalin from Biogen Idec in a deal worth a potential $30 million.

Under terms of the agreement, Cell Therapeutics will pay Biogen Idec $10 million up front and as much as $20 million in milestone payments , if the radioimmunotherapy receives approval as a first-line treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma , and royalties on sales.

Currently, the drug is approved to treat patients with the relapsed form of the condition.

Cell Therapeutics will assume U.S. marketing, sales and development rights for the cancer therapy. Under a previous agreement between Bayer Schering and Biogen Idec, Bayer Schering will continue to sell the drug outside the United States.

Cell Therapeutics called the drug “underutilized,” and said it planned to expand the label.

In 2006, Biogen Idec reported $16.4 million in U.S. Zevalin sales. Cell Therapeutics estimated sales could reach $250 million.

Zevalin, developed by Idec Pharmaceuticals, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2002 as the first radioimmunotherapeutic agent for the treatment of NHL. Idec Pharmaceuticals merged with Cambridge, Mass.-based Biogen in 2003 to form Biogen Idec.

Biogen Idec conducts cancer research in San Diego where it employs about 500 people.

Spokeswoman Naomi Aoki said the company’s divestiture will not affect its San Diego work force.

Shares of Biogen Idec closed up about 1 percent to $59.10 on Aug. 16.

, Heather Chambers

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