) recently announced that it has entered into an agreement with Les
Laboratoires Servier, a privately-owned French pharmaceutical
company, to acquire the US rights to the perindopril franchise from
the latter. The perindopril franchise includes Aceon (perindopril
erbumine), an angiotensin converting enzyme ("ACE") inhibitor and
three other fixed dose combination ("FDC") candidates.
Aceon is approved for treating patients suffering from essential
hypertension. The drug is also marketed for reducing the risk of
cardiovascular death or nonfatal myocardial infarction in patients
with stable coronary artery disease.
XOMA intends to start the commercialization activities in the
US, including delivering Aceon to patients from January 23, 2012
onwards. However, the company will not actively market the
We note that XOMA paid Servier a licensing fee of $1.5 million
pertaining to the deal in the third quarter of 2010. Additionally,
XOMA has to make milestone payments subject to the achievement of
certain development and commercialization targets. XOMA is also
liable to pay tiered royalties ranging from mid-single digit to up
to a mid-teen on the sales of Aceon and mid-teens in the case of
The perindopril franchise generated ex-US sales in excess of
$1.2 billion in 2011. However, we remain cautious about Aceon's
potential in the US, considering the fact that generic versions of
perindopril erbumine are available in the US since 2009.
We remind investors that XOMA had inked a deal with Servier in
December 2010 as well, regarding gevokizumab (formaly known as XOMA
052). Currently, it is the lead pipeline candidate of XOMA.
However, on March 22, 2011, Xoma reported negative results from
phase IIb trial of gevokizumab for type II diabetes.
The trial failed to meet the primary endpoint of reducing
glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) after six months of treatment as
compared to placebo. However, data from the trial revealed a
significant reduction in C-reactive protein - a biomarker for the
risk of heart attack, stroke and other diseases - in patients
treated with gevokizumab versus placebo.
XOMA is also developing the candidate for Behcet's uveitis and
We currently have an Outperform recommendation on XOMA. Our
long-term recommendation is supported by the Zacks #1 Rank (Strong
Buy) carried by the stock in the short run.
XOMA CORP (
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