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Opko licenses chemotherapy relief drug

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Date: Tuesday, December 14, 2010, 9:55am EST - Last Modified: Tuesday, December 14, 2010, 4:38pm EST

Miami-based Opko Health has licensed a drug that could provide relief to people undergoing chemotherapy treatments.

The deal with Boston-based Tesaro could generate up to $121 million in payments for Opko (AMEX: OPK). It will receive an upfront payment and a 10 percent equity stake in Tesaro, which was launched earlier this year with $60 million in funding.

Should the drug come to market, Opko would collect royalties on sales.

The companies are developing rolapitant to prevent nausea and vomiting in cancer patients being treated with chemotherapy. After the Phase II trial showed “promising” results in patients for five days after a single dose, the companies are planning a Phase III study.

About 70 percent of cancer patients in chemotherapy suffer from nausea and vomiting, which can cause severe weight loss, dehydration and malnutrition.

“We are pleased to complete this important transaction and look forward to seeing rolapitant progress toward registration in key markets throughout the world,” Opko Chairman and CEO Dr. Phillip Frost said in a news release. “The Tesaro team’s special expertise and successful experience with the development and commercialization of oncology products will be of enormous benefit in making rolapitant a meaningful product for cancer patients and a commercial success.”

Tesaro’s co-founders include former executives of MGI Pharma, an oncology biopharmaceutical firm that was purchased for $3.9 billion in 2008 by Eisai Co. The company plans ...

Miami-based Opko Health has licensed a drug that could provide relief to people undergoing chemotherapy treatments.

The deal with Boston-based Tesaro could generate up to $121 million in payments for Opko (AMEX: OPK). It will receive an upfront payment and a 10 percent equity stake in Tesaro, which was launched earlier this year with $60 million in funding.

Should the drug come to market, Opko would collect royalties on sales.

The companies are developing rolapitant to prevent nausea and vomiting in cancer patients being treated with chemotherapy. After the Phase II trial showed “promising” results in patients for five days after a single dose, the companies are planning a Phase III study.

About 70 percent of cancer patients in chemotherapy suffer from nausea and vomiting, which can cause severe weight loss, dehydration and malnutrition.

“We are pleased to complete this important transaction and look forward to seeing rolapitant progress toward registration in key markets throughout the world,” Opko Chairman and CEO Dr. Phillip Frost said in a news release. “The Tesaro team’s special expertise and successful experience with the development and commercialization of oncology products will be of enormous benefit in making rolapitant a meaningful product for cancer patients and a commercial success.”

Tesaro’s co-founders include former executives of MGI Pharma, an oncology biopharmaceutical firm that was purchased for $3.9 billion in 2008 by Eisai Co. The company plans to acquire and develop cancer drugs and other oncology products.

According to Opko's Securities and Exchange Commission filing, it will receive a $6 million upfront payment from Tesaro.

Opko shares closed up 12 cents to $3.70. The 52-week high was $3.83 on Friday. The 52-week low was $1.50 on Dec. 14, 2009.



Read more: Opko licenses chemotherapy relief drug | South Florida Business Journal
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