Ferring inks $500M deal with Royalty Pharma on new bladder cancer gene therapy

Royalty Pharma has built a niche by finding innovative products pre- and post-approval from companies that need an infusion of cash in exchange for future royalties.

Fitting the bill is Ferring Pharmaceuticals of Switzerland, which gained FDA approval for two of its new treatments over the last five weeks of 2022 and now is working to launch them.

Royalty has signed a deal with Ferring to collect royalties on FDA-approved bladder cancer drug Adstiladrin (nadofaragene firadenovec-vncg). Royalty will pay $300 million up front and $200 million in a potential milestone payment tied to Ferring meeting certain manufacturing goals by 2025.

New York City-based Royalty will receive 5.1% of net sales of Adstiladrin in the U.S. Upon payment of the milestone, the royalty will jump to 8%. The deal sustains royalty payments through the early-to-mid 2030s, the companies said.

The investment will support Ferring’s expansion of manufacturing capacity, commercialization and further clinical development of Adstiladrin.

Ferring will make Adstiladrin available next month through an early experience program for the treatment of high-risk adult patients with Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG)-unresponsive non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) with carcinoma in situ (CIS).

“This investment is consistent with our strategy of acquiring royalties on innovative therapies in areas of high unmet patient need,” Pablo Legorreta, the founder and CEO of Royalty, said in a release. “Adstiladrin is the first gene therapy in our diversified royalty portfolio. We believe it has blockbuster potential.” 

In late November, Ferring scored an FDA endorsement for Rebyota, a treatment for Clostridium difficile.

Two weeks later, the FDA signed off on Adstiladrin, which is administered every three months into the bladder by way of a urinary catheter.

The gene therapy was shown in a clinical trial to achieve a complete response in more than half of recipients. Adstiladrin provides a much-needed option for those with BCG-unresponsive NMIBC, who typically undergo surgery to remove the bladder.