Scrip’s Biotech Company of the Year award seeks to acknowledge the vital importance to the industry of biotechnology’s cutting-edge science and entrepreneurial spirit. This year, from a strong field, the judges chose Algeta as the winner.
The Norwegian firm has enjoyed a transformational year during which it took a major step towards achieving its ambition of becoming a cancer-focused speciality pharma company. Its major achievement was the signing of an $800 million partnership deal with Bayer Schering Pharma for the development and commercialisation of its novel radiopharmaceutical product Alpharadin to treat bone metastases in prostate and other cancer patients.
The deal, one of the largest in 2009, crucially allows Algeta to retain an option for 50:50 co-promotion in the US. Its structure is such that milestone payments abased on the successful development of Alpharadin would be enough to enable Algeta to establish a functional US commercial operation in readiness for launch. Moreover, the company’s share price rose by 780% during 2009, making it the flagship company in the Norwegian biotech sector.
The judges said that the use of Algeta’s proprietary technology in developing a new class of radiopharmaceuticals could lead to a significant advance in the treatment of various cancers. “A very impressive year – great deal and creation of shareholder value,” they said.
Alpharadin is an alpha particle-emitting targeted agent that prolonged patient survival in a Phase II trials. Alpha particles have a potent but very short-range cytotoxic effect (2-10 cell diameters) and so deliver localised tumour death with minimal effect on surrounding normal cells.
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