E MEI Pharma Signs Licensing Deal, Soars Higher

On Monday, MEI Pharma (MEIP) closed the day higher by 27.95% after the company announced an exclusive licensing deal with Swiss cancer-care pharma Helsinn. The agreement has been made for MEI's drug pracinostat, which is ready for a phase 3 clinical trial in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). 

Together the companies will advance the drug into phase 3 trials for this indication, and many other hematological indications such as myelodysplastic syndrome -- MDS. Under the terms of the agreement Helsinn will get exclusive rights to the drug globally, and will be responsible for funding the phase 3 trial in patients with AML. Helsinn has previously focused primarily on palliative care and drugs that address cancer-related and cancer-drug-induced side effects.

In the deal, MEI Pharma will get $15 million as an upfront payment (immediately doubling its $14M cash on hand), and an additional $5 million as soon as the first patient is dosed in the phase 3 trial. Even better, MEI also stands to receive up to $449 million in milestone payments. It will also receive tiered royalties when the drug is sold on the market in certain territories. 

Disclosure: None

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