Spectrum Pharmaceuticals trims product portfolio, staff in "major strategic shift"

Spectrum Pharmaceuticals announced Thursday an agreement to sell its portfolio of approved cancer drugs to Aurobindo Pharma's Acrotech Biopharma subsidiary in order to focus on the development of Rolontis (eflapegrastim) and poziotinib. Spectrum CEO Joe Turgeon said the divestiture, which has been approved by the boards of both drugmakers and is expected to close within 90 days, "marks a major strategic shift."

Under the deal, Spectrum will sell products including Fusilev (levoleucovorin), Folotyn (pralatrexate), Zevalin (ibritumomab tiuxetan), Marqibo (vincristine) and Khapzory (levoleucovorin) to Acrotech for an upfront cash payment of $160 million. Spectrum is also eligible to receive milestones of up to $140 million linked to Marqibo and Khapzory. The assets to be divested are expected to have combined sales of $105 million for 2018.

Spectrum noted that the divestiture will lead to job cuts of around 40 percent, although the drugmaker indicated that the majority of impacted staff will transition to Acrotech. Turgeon said "we are retaining a core group of commercial talent to lead the launch of Rolontis and poziotinib," adding that "proceeds generated by the sale will significantly strengthen the financial position of the company, providing the capital to develop and commercialise" the two drugs.

Last month, Spectrum announced that it submitted Rolontis for FDA approval for the treatment of chemotherapy-induced neutropenia. Recently unveiled study data showed that the long-acting granulocyte colony-stimulating factor was non-inferior to Amgen's Neulasta (pegfilgrastim) in reducing the duration of severe neutropenia.  

Meanwhile, commenting on the deal, N Govindarajan, managing director of Aurobindo, said "the acquisition…creates an ideal launch pad for Acrotech, and establishes our presence in the branded market, which is in line with our strategy to grow and diversify our business in the US."

 

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