PARSIPPANY, N.J. (
) --One man's trash is another man's treasure. For
CEO Clive Meanwell, that's a motto by which to run a drug company.
Tuesday night, Medicines Co. announced it had licensed an old -- and many thought discarded -- heart drug from
. The drug, known as ApoA-I Milano, is thought to reverse plaque buildup in arteries and was supposed to be Pfizer's next cardiovascular blockbuster to rival sales of its cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor.
In 2004, Pfizer spent $1.3 billion to acquire
, the tiny drug maker that owned ApoA-I Milano. Yet the drug's development fizzled under Pfizer, and in 2008, Pfizer sold Esperion back to some angel investors for a steep loss.
ApoA-I Milano was thought to be dead, until Tuesday, when Medicines Co. bought worldwide rights to the drug for the deeply discounted sum of $10 million. Pfizer could be eligible for another $410 million in payments from Medicines Co. if ApoA-I Milano is developed successfully.
It remains to be seen if Medicines Co. can do something with ApoA-I Milano where Pfizer could not, but then, Medicines Co. CEO Meanwell seemed to relish the challenge of buying other companies' throwaway drugs.
Almost one year ago, Medicines Co.
to gain access to oritavancin, an antibiotic that had already been rejected once by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
both owned oritavancin before Targanta.
Medicines Co.'s primary product is Angiomax, a blood thinner used by doctors during angioplasty and cardiac stenting procedures. However, Angiomax faces generic competition in 2010. Efforts by the company to delay the entry of a cheaper, generic version of the drug have so far been unsuccessful. Medicines Co. also sells Cleviprex, a hospital-based drug used to control high blood pressure, although the launch of that drug has not been strong.
Medicines Co. shares closed Tuesday at $8.54, down 42% for the year.
-- Reported by Adam Feuerstein in Boston
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