Incyte snags rights to blood disease drug - Delaware


Apr. 8, 2016 12:12 pm

Incyte snags rights to blood disease drug

The Wilmington biopharma company will be studying how ruxolitinib could treat graft-versus-host disease, an opportunity they bought for a cool $35 million.
Red blood cells.

Red blood cells.

(Photo by Flickr user Wellcome Images, used under a Creative Commons license)

The Wilmington-based biopharmaceutical company Incyte Corporation announced this week that it has bought the rights to develop and commercialize a drug with the potential to treat people suffering from graft-versus-host disease, which happens when transplanted blood attacks the body’s organs.

Hervé Hoppenot, Incyte’s president and CEO, said in a release that there are currently no approved treatments for the disease, which often causes death. The organs graft-versus-host most commonly targets are the skin, digestive tract and liver.

Incyte bought rights to the drug, called ruxolitinib, commercially known as Jakafi, from Ely Lilly and Company for an upfront $35 million, according to a release from Incyte.

In addition to the deal with Ely Lilly, Incyte also granted Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis rights to research, develop and commercialize Jakafi outside of the United States. In both agreements, money changes hands when regulatory milestones for the drug happen, going from Incyte to Ely Lilly and from Novartis to Incyte.

Jakafi has been approved by the FDA to treat people with the bone marrow diseases polycythemia vera and myelofibrosis, but it’s not approved anywhere to treat graft-versus-host.

Hoppenot said his company plans to begin a study later this year.


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