The Medicines Co., in pivot to pipeline PCSK9 med, secures $270M asset sale

The Medicines Co. inked a deal to sell three antibiotics to Melinta Therapeutics for $270 million plus royalties.

The Medicines Company is going all-in on pipeline cholesterol drug inclisiran, which it expects to compete with the likes of Repatha and Praluent. On Wednesday, the company inked a deal to sell several marketed infectious disease meds to Melinta Therapeutics to gin up cash to support development for the blockbuster hopeful. 

The Parsippany, New Jersey-based company is selling Vabomere, Orbactiv and Minocin to Melinta for $165 million up front, plus $55 million in Melinta stock. Under the deal, Melinta will pay $25 million one year after closing and another $25 million 18 months after closing, plus tiered royalties, according to a release. The companies expect the sale to close early next year.  

Vabomere, The Medicines Company's newest product, only won FDA approval in August to treat complicated urinary tract infections. According to one Leerink analyst, it could generate $400 million in sales by 2028. Other meds in the deal—Orbactiv and Minocin—also treat infections. 

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While it's selling its entire antibiotics portfolio, The Medicines Company is keeping its only other marketed drug, Angiomax. The anticoagulant is approved in the U.S. and Europe and generated $50 million in sales last year. 

With the divestiture, The Medicines Company is doubling down on inclisiran, an Alnylam-partnered PCSK9 med carrying big expectations. So far on the market, however, PCSK9 meds have come up short of initial sales projections, partly due to payer restrictions and concerns over high prices. 

Still, some analysts believe The Medicines Company can apply data from previous PCSK9 trials to guide development for its drug as well as learn from the launches for approved meds in the class: Praluent from Sanofi and Regeneron, plus Repatha from Amgen.  

In a statement, The Medicines Company CEO Clive Meanwell said the deal will "allow us to optimize and focus our efforts and resources on inclisiran, which we believe has the potential to be a competitively dominant, blockbuster product for the millions of at-risk, often nonadherent, patients worldwide who continue to struggle with high cholesterol given the limitations of available therapies." 

The deal will also provide The Medicines Company funds to develop its manufacturing and recruit for a cardiovascular outcomes trial, Meanwell said, without having to sell equity. The company's ongoing phase 3 for the cholesterol med will read out in the second half of 2019.