Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Ongoing "Hassan Hangover": Another Schering-Plough In-Licensing Deal Bites The Dust

Just six days ago, we mentioned one of Ex-CEO Fred Hassan's deals that had to be unwound by New Merck management. Here is another. Trust me -- this won't be the last of these. To be clear, I think AVEO has a great shot with this cancer candidate, I just think it faces a longer horizon to approval than New Merck is willing to accept, given its other pressing needs.

For its part, New Merck officially (and politely) chalks the unwind up to "portfolio prioritization" -- that's corporate speak for "Mr. Hassan lacked focus" in the early-2007 period, as he could already (allegedly) see that Vytorin® was going to run out of runway. Here's the BusinessWire item:

. . . .The decision to return this program to AVEO is a result of portfolio prioritization. . . .

In April 2007, AVEO entered into a Research, Development and Commercialization Agreement with Schering Corporation, under which the company was granted worldwide rights to develop and commercialize AV-299. Under the terms of the agreement, Merck funded all research and development expenses and was obligated to pay development milestones, and, as applicable, royalties on product sales. AVEO retained primary responsibility for certain development activities through completion of the first Phase 2 proof-of-concept trial, and for conducting translational research to guide the clinical development of AV-299, as well as the option to co-promote AV-299 in the U.S. for certain oncology indications. . . .

Another one bites the dust -- this "Hassan Hangover" just won't fade away.

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