Baxter gets rights to AATD drug Glassia

By Michael Oneal
Posted Aug. 24, 2010 at 8:17 a.m.

Baxter International Inc. announced Tuesday that it has obtained exclusive rights to a new respiratory drug called Glassia, which treats a hereditary disease called AATD, or alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, that may lead to emphysema.

The drug, developed by an Israeli biotech company called Kamada Ltd., gained U.S. Food & Drug approval June 1. Under the agreement Deerfield-based Baxter will distribute and manufacture it and has agreed to purchase between $60 million and $110 million of Glassia during the first five years.

Kamada said it will receive milestone payments of $45 million, including an upfront payment of $20 million for distribution of the drug in the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Baxter also anticipates manufacturing Glassia and will seek regulatory approval to do so. It will pay Kamada up to $25 million in additional payments related to certain production milestones and will make royalty payments based on net sales of the product it produces.

Kamada has agreed, for a limited period of time, not to initiate or enter any discussions or agreements relating to the commercialization of Glassia in certain other geographical areas as well as for its next-generation inhaled therapy.

The American Lung Association estimates that inherited Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, known as AATD, afflicts approximately 100,000 people in the United States and that less than 10 percent of them have been properly diagnosed.

People with AATD have low levels of alpha-1 protein in the blood and the lungs. This naturally occurring protein, which is made in the liver, helps protect lung tissue from damaging enzymes released by white blood cells. The most common symptoms of AATD include shortness of breath and cough and AATD may lead to early onset emphysema, Baxter said.

Baxter already sponsors the AlphaTest kit to make it easy for physicians to test patients. To date, the company said it has assisted in screening more than 80,000 people for AATD, making it an industry leader in AATD awareness and early diagnosis.

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