The company: XenoPort
The drug: Horizant
The disease: Restless leg syndrome
Sales: $1.6 million in Q3
When GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) signed on to partner with XenoPort ($XNPT) on its experimental therapy for restless leg syndrome, the pharma giant offered up $75 million upfront and more than a half billion dollars in milestones. But regulators held up the approval process for three years, until they were satisfied that the tumors seen in animal studies wouldn't pose a risk to humans. And last spring, when the FDA approval came through, the biotech company was happy to leave the marketing effort to GSK, which said it was gearing up 500 reps to sell the treatment.
And then it all went to hell.
XenoPort's partnership with GlaxoSmithKline on Horizant was in trouble almost from the start of the commercialization effort. A paltry $1.3 million in initial sales for the first quarter on the market triggered accusations of a breach of contract. And then GSK quickly punched back with a counterclaim.
After that, the two companies expended more effort in the legal wrangle than on marketing efforts. And just days ago they agreed to go their separate ways, with GSK signing off on a deal to buy XenoPort shares in exchange for the right to wash its hands of the relationship and the therapy. And in place of making big revenue off of sales, GSK took a $165 million write-off.
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