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License to Pill: Biotech and pharma deals from Dec. 2-13

Johnson & Johnson's Janssen Biotech Inc., AstraZeneca PLC and Hanmi Pharm. Co. Ltd. were among drugmakers that struck licensing deals for the two-week period ended Dec. 13, according to data compiled by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Janssen entered into an agreement with XBiotech Inc. to acquire all rights to the latter's anti-inflammatory antibody bermekimab for $750 million in cash. Austin, Texas-based XBiotech may also receive up to $600 million in milestone payments for the therapy — a potential treatment for different cancer types, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and skin disorders.

This transaction was also the largest by up-front value over the two-week period.

Another notable deal was U.K.-based AstraZeneca's sale of commercial rights to its antipsychotic drug Seroquel in North America to Cheplapharm Arzneimittel GmbH for $35 million up front. Seroquel, or quetiapine fumarate, is used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

South Korea's Hanmi Pharm also inked a licensing and collaboration contract with Rapt Therapeutics Inc. Hanmi will develop Rapt's experimental cancer treatment FLX475 in Asia, with Rapt receiving an up-front payment of $10 million.

South San Francisco, Calif.-based Rapt Therapeutics will also be eligible to receive up to $108 million in milestone payments.

Licensing deals for the period included drugs for a wide range of indications, including chemotherapy-induced nerve damage, breast and gastric cancer, diabetes, heart diseases and skin disorders.

Meanwhile, following its decision to exit diabetes and cardiovascular research, French drugmaker Sanofi amended its collaboration with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. on two medicines into a royalty-based model.

Following the amendment, Sanofi will hold sole global rights to rheumatoid arthritis therapy Kevzara and sole rights to cholesterol drug Praluent outside the U.S. Regeneron will hold exclusive U.S. rights for Praluent.

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