Salix takes Relistor duties from PfizerProgenics Pharmaceuticals announced that it will hand over commercial duties on Relistor, a subcutaneous injection for opioid-induced constipation (OIC), to Salix, beginning in April. Financial terms include a $60 million upfront payment to Progenics, and another potential $290 million in development and sales-based milestone payments, the companies said.
Wyeth (now Pfizer) was the original marketing partner for Relistor, first approved in 2008, but Progenics announced in late 2009 that it would end that deal after a transition period, with Wyeth paying $10 million in “costs associated with the transition,” according to a statement. After two extensions, the Wyeth deal will come to an end March 31, with Salix taking over on April 1. Pfizer will retain certain intellectual property assets on the drug, and agreed to license them to Progenics for free as part of the deal. Salix's global (except Japan) licensing rights also include intellectual property from the University of Chicago. Ono Pharmaceuticals has commercial rights to Relistor in Japan.
Salix will market Relistor with a specialty sales force of 160 reps in the US, according to Michael Freeman, a Salix spokesperson. Reps will target 18,000 gastroenterologists in the US, and the company will not use e-detailing or other digital detailing programs, Freeman said. Physicians interested in a Relistor e-detail, or online physician testimonials and reprints, can visit PfizerPro.com before March 31, after that, all digital assets will be handed back to Progenics, said Victoria Davis, a Pfizer spokesperson. Pfizer will continue to supply product to countries outside of the US and Japan after March 31, while Salix “effects a country-by-country transition of commercialization rights,” according to a statement.
On a conference call, Paul Maddon, CEO, founder and chief science officer at Progenics, said the company will submit an sNDA during “the first half of this year” which would expand Relistor's indication to include chronic non-cancer pain patients with OIC.