Monday, January 13, 2014

UPDATE: Asenapine (Saphris®) Edition -- From Mr. Frazier's Talk Tonight

When I last snarkily discussed the sale to Forest Labs, last month, of the US rights to sell Saphris® (asenapine) -- I guessed a little low on the Saphris native annual sales level -- in the US. I guessed $120 million a year. My mistake. [Lundbeck had previously secured the rest of world rights.]

Merck's FAQ (a PDF file) puts the US figure at $150 million (I may be corrected, but I think that number has never been disclosed officially before -- no matter; it is decidely immaterial to Merck). Interesting, just the same. That means for a branded pharmaceutical franchise, Merck got about 1.6 times sales, as the upfront payment, in the deal. I'd love to know what the back end looked like -- to gauge whether "Big Brent" (depicted at right) overpaid (circa 3 times sales), or Merck simply knowingly took a haircut -- just to get out of it (much closer to 2 times sales).

. . .On December 2, Merck entered into an agreement to sell the U.S. rights to SAPHRIS® (asenapine), a treatment for adult patients with schizophrenia or acute bipolar mania. Under the terms of the agreement, Forest Laboratories, Inc. will make an upfront payment of $240 million and additional payments to Merck based on defined sales milestones. The agreement is expected to close in early 2014. The annual U.S. sales associated with SAPHRIS are approximately $150 million. . . .

So. . . a lot of this (as to Hassan's legacy) is becoming "mind, over matter." That is, I don't mind, because it won't ever. . . matter. But "Fast Fred", Tom, Carrie, Brent and Tom ought to be asked to explain this spectacularly flogged. . . flop.

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