Triangle Pharmaceuticals Reacquires Rights to Four Drugs, Including HIV Drug Coviracil, From Abbott
Durham, N.C.-based Triangle Pharmaceuticals announced on Tuesday that it has reacquired exclusive rights to four drugs, including the HIV drug Coviracil, from Abbott Laboratories, Reuters reports. In 1999, the two companies agreed to codevelop the drugs and split all future profits. According to Triangle officials, the decision to end that agreement was "mutual" (Reuters, 7/30). "We have moved aggressively to reacquire full rights to our products not only because of our enthusiasm for the compounds but also because we believe this is a win-win outcome for Triangle and Abbott," Triangle President and COO Chris Rallis said. Under the reacquisition deal, Triangle retains worldwide rights to the drugs and all profits from their sale. The company will no longer be required to offer Abbott a "right of first discussion" on new drugs it develops, and Triangle will have access to two unsecured lines of credit totaling $42.5 million. Abbott will manufacture the initial batch of Coviracil, enough for about a year's worth of sales, and will supply additional material at Triangle's request through July 2005. In exchange, Triangle will forego the right to all remaining "milestone payments" and the right to co-market Abbott's HIV drug Kaletra in the United States. Abbott will also receive a 1% royalty on Coviracil's first $200 million in cumulative sales (Triangle release, 7/30).
Coviracil Findings Positive
Triangle officials also announced on Tuesday that initial findings from a Phase III clinical trial of Coviracil, a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor, show that the drug is "statistically superior" with regard to safety and effectiveness compared to stavudine (Reuters, 7/30). In the 48-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, patients were given either a once-daily dose of Coviracil or a twice-daily dose of stavudine. Both drugs were given in conjunction with a regimen of efavirenz and didanosine. A total of 571 people in the United States, Europe, Mexico and South America took part in the study. Based on the findings, an independent safety monitoring board recommended that all study participants receive Coviracil. The company confirmed that it will seek FDA approval for the drug in the third quarter of this year (Triangle release, 7/30).