Cerebrus clinches Swiss biotech deal and agrees to takeover by Vanguard
Saturday 04 December 1999
Cerebrus, part owned by biotechnology entrepreneur Chris Evans, is to license its serotonin receptor programme, which assists the treatment of obesity, to Hoffman-La Roche. The Swiss company is to fund development and commercialisation of the treatment, while Cerebrus will receive milestone payments. Hoffman-La Roche is already a world leader in obesity treatments.
Cerebrus will receive a share of royalties of any resulting product, but revenues are not anticipated until the latter half of the next decade. Vanguard Medica is buying Cerebrus for shares worth pounds 9.6m, less than half a previous offer it is thought to have made.Dr George Poste, the chairman, will leave Cerebrus.
The deal will ease the pressure on Vanguard, which suffered a setback last month when the US Food and Drug Administration demanded that it repeat early-stage trials for frovatriptan, a migraine drug.
The deal paves the way for further acquisitions of private research outfits by the quoted biotechs, which are already in the throes of consolidation. Prolifix, an Oxfordshire-based cancer research company, was tipped as a possible target yesterday; Eli Lilly, the US pharmaceuticals group, took a stake in the company in October.
It looks very much as though 2015 will be a good year for the world economy, after all – and, if it is, that will be thanks to the fall in the oil price. It won't be good for everyone and we have already seen the pressure it puts on the Russian leadership – though, before you conclude that sometimes there is natural justice in the world, remember that the people who are hurt are not leaders such as Vladimir Putin. Other oil- and gas-exporting countries are damaged, too, and I think we will see further fallout in unpredictable ways. But the net impact is strongly positive, more so than most commentators at present acknowledge. The winners far outnumber the losers.
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