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Protalix extends Gaucher drug deal with Pfizer

NEW YORK (AP) -- Protalix BioTherapeutics Inc. said Thursday that it will continue to work with Pfizer Inc. to develop their Gaucher disease drug Elelyso.

Protalix said it will continue to manage and fund active trials of the drug, and new studies will be handled by Pfizer. The Israeli company said it could soon receive an $8.3 million clinical development milestone payment from Pfizer. The companies have been working together on Elelyso since November 2009, and Pfizer has the right to market the drug in all countries except Israel.

Gaucher disease is caused by deficiency of an important enzyme. The condition can cause liver and neurological problems.

The Food and Drug Administration approved Elelyso on May 1 and Israeli regulators approved it in September. In June a European Union advisory panel said the drug should not be approved because another Gaucher disease drug has marketing exclusivity until August 2020.

Shares of Protalix rose 4 cents to close at $5.52. Pfizer fell 3 cents to close at $25.61.