Isotechnika's search for a partner continues
SummaryIsotechnika's Q2 loss shows a sharp reversal in fortunes. Profit in 2003 was largely attributable to a research payment for ISA247 from Roche, which has since pulled out of part of the deal. Isotechnika will be hoping that Roche continues to support ISA247 in the field of transplantation, but, says Datamonitor's Timothy Pang, it would be boosted by the cash that a new partner would bring...
Canadian drug development specialist Isotechnika reported a Q2 loss this week of C$4.55 million, or six Canadian cents a share. This loss contrasts with the profit reported for Q2 2003, which Isotechnika credited mainly to an C$8.4 million research payment from Roche. Roche and Isotechnika had been jointly developing ISA247, the Canadian company's lead candidate, as part of a global co-development deal signed in 2002.
In April 2004, Roche and Isotechnika announced that they had restructured their collaboration agreement for ISA247, an immunosuppressant. The drug was licensed to Roche in April 2002 as a Phase II compound in transplantation. Under the terms of the original agreement, Roche had exclusive global marketing rights to ISA247, and would contribute 70% of the development costs for the drug.
Under the terms of the amended agreement between Isotechnika and Roche, the Swiss company returned global rights to ISA247 to its Canadian partner for all indications except transplantation. Isotechnika is now responsible for all development costs, and will pay all R&D costs up to and including the completion of a Phase IIb trial in renal transplantation.
On successful completion of the Phase IIb trial, Roche has the option to continue joint development of ISA247 in transplantation. Isotechnika is free to out license rights to ISA247 for any indications except transplantation. While Isotechnika wants to develop ISA247 for autoimmune indications, Roche seems keen to focus on transplant indications, despite the successful completion of a Phase II trial in psoriasis.
Isotechnika stated recently that was no progress in its search for a partner to replace Roche in the development of ISA247 for autoimmune diseases. In June, Isotechnika had stated that it was close to finding a partner, and that at least six pharmaceutical companies were interested. However, Isotechnika has not been able to conclude a deal for ISA247 in autoimmune diseases yet.
Roche has yet to decide if it will opt back in on the development of ISA247 in transplant indications, and could yet refuse to do so, leaving Isotechnika without a development partner and a significant source of funding.
The original deal between Roche and Isotechnika represented the largest Canadian drug development deal between big pharma and a biotech company for the commercialization of a single drug. With Isotechnika still looking for a new partner for ISA247 in autoimmune diseases, and waiting to see if Roche will continue to support R&D in transplantation, the coming year will prove crucial to Isotechnika's long term prospects.