Portola Pharmaceuticals has entered into an exclusive worldwide license agreement with Novartis. Novartis will develop and commercialize Portola's intravenous (i.v.) and oral P2Y12 ADP receptor antagonist, elinogrel, currently in Phase II as a potential anti-clotting medication. Elinogrel has shown potential to offer clinical improvements over current anti-clotting medications in helping patients avoid heart attacks and strokes, such as lowering the risk of ischemic events due to clot formation and reducing the risk of bleeding, according to a Portola statement.
Portola will receive an upfront cash payment of $75 million and is eligible to receive additional payments totaling as much as $500 million upon achievement of development, regulatory and commercialization milestones. Portola will also receive royalties on worldwide sales of elinogrel and has the option to co-promote the drug in the U.S. (limited to hospitals and specialty markets). Novartis will fund all future Phase III trials and will share costs of ongoing and planned Phase II trials. The agreement also provides Portola with an option to co-fund Phase III trials and other development activities in return for additional royalties.
In December 2008, Portola initiated patient enrollment in a Phase II trial of the i.v. and oral forms of elinogrel in a broad group of patients undergoing non-urgent percutaneous coronary intervention. The two companies plan to further develop elinogrel to treat patients with acute coronary syndromes and broadly in patients with a prior heart attack or stroke, and those with peripheral vascular disease.