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AEterna Zentaris sells Cetrotide royalty stream

This article was originally published in Scrip

Executive Summary

AEterna Zentaris is selling its royalty stream from Cetrotide (cetrorelix) to Cowen Healthcare Royalty Partners for $52.5 million. The royalties are based on sales of drug in in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and AEterna is entitled to an additional $2.5 million upon reaching a specific level of net sales in 2010. AEterna will use the cash primarily to fund the development of cetrorelix, which is in Phase III clinical trials in Europe and North America for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia. The firm expects results in the third quarter of 2009 and will seek a commercial partner for the compound. Cetrotide is the first luteinising hormone-releasing hormone antagonist treatment for IVF. The compound helps to prevent premature ovulation in order to increase fertility success. Merck Serono markets Cetrotide in this indication worldwide, with the exception of Japan, under a 2000 licence from AEterna. If the drug is approved in an indication other than IVF, AEterna will pay a one-off fee of $5-15 million to Cowen. AEterna expects to end 2008 with around $50 million in cash.

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