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Rigel Rises On European Marketing Agreement For Autoimmune Drug

Shanthi Rexaline

Small-cap biotech Rigel Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: RIGL)'s shares were advancing Wednesday after it announced an agreement to commercialize fostamatinib, its autoimmune disorder drug.

What Happened

Rigel announced Wednesday it has entered into an exclusive licensing and supply agreement with the Spanish company GRIFOLS S A/S ADR (NASDAQ: GRFS) to commercialize fostamatinib disodium hexahydrate in all potential indications in Europe and Turkey.

The FDA approved fostamatinib in the U.S. in April 2018, with the drug sold under the brand name Tavalisse. It is the first and only SYK inhibitor indicated to treat chronic immune thrombocytopenia, or ITP, in patients who have had an insufficient response to a previous treatment.

The agreement calls for Rigel to receive an upfront cash payment of $30 million, with potential regulatory and commercial milestone payments up to $297.5 million, including a $20-million payment for EMA approval of the drug for treating chronic ITP.

Rigel will also receive stepped double-digit royalty payments based on tiered net sales, which could go up to 30 percent of net sales. In return, Grifols receives exclusive rights to fostamatinib for treating chronic ITP, autoimmune hemolytic anemia and IgA nephropathy in Europe and Turkey.

What's Next

Rigel said it expects the EMA to rule on its marketing application for fostamatinib in chronic ITP by the end of 2019. The company expects the deal to create opportunity for the drug to begin generating revenue in the European market in 2020.

Rigel shares were up 3.47 percent at $2.09 at the time of publication. 

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