Lantheus inks deal with GE for flurpiridaz PET tracer

Lantheus Holdings subsidiary Lantheus Medical Imaging has signed a term sheet with GE Healthcare to support the worldwide development and commercialization of its flurpiridaz F-18 investigational PET radiopharmaceutical.

Flurpiridaz F-18 is a myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI) agent designed to improve the diagnosis of coronary artery disease. Under the proposed deal, GE would provide funding for the second phase III clinical study for flurpiridaz F-18, as well as for the agent's worldwide regulatory approvals, launch, and commercialization, according to the companies.

Lantheus will collaborate on both development and commercialization through a joint steering committee, and it will also maintain the option to copromote the agent in the U.S. GE plans to focus on obtaining regulatory approval for the agent in the U.S., Japan, Europe, and Canada, according to the companies.

Under the proposed transaction, Lantheus would receive $5 million in cash upfront, followed by up to $60 million in regulatory and sales milestones payments. GE would also pay tiered double-digit royalties on U.S. sales and midsingle-digit royalties on sales outside of the U.S. Lantheus and GE anticipate signing a definitive agreement for the proposed transaction in the second quarter of 2017.

In other Lantheus news, the firm reported fourth-quarter revenues of $74.4 million, up 4.4% from the $71.2 million reported in the fourth quarter of 2015. For the period (end-December 31), Lantheus had net income of $4.9 million, up from $3.9 million a year ago.

For the year, Lantheus had worldwide revenues of $301.9 million, up 2.9% from the $293.5 million reported in 2015. The result exceeded the company's previous guidance of $296 million to $299 million, and it was driven by an 18% increase in sales of Lantheus' Definity ultrasound contrast agent as well as higher sales of its TechneLite radiopharmaceutical. Those increases were partially offset by price concessions for xenon as part of the company's nuclear product contracting strategy, as well as the divestiture of its Canadian and Australian radiopharmacy businesses, Lantheus said.

Lantheus had 2016 net income of $26.8 million, compared with a net loss of $14.7 million in 2015. Lantheus attributed the profitability improvement primarily to operational improvements, decreased interest expenses, and one-time activities in 2015 associated with the company's initial public offering and debt refinancing.

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