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Dermira to develop Roche drug for skin condition

Dermira Inc. secured the worldwide rights to develop F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd. and Genentech Inc.'s lebrikizumab in treating atopic dermatitis, a skin condition.

Dermira can also commercialize the drug in other indications except for interstitial lung diseases whose rights remain with Hoffmann-La Roche and Genentech. The two Roche Holding AG units can further continue to develop the drug for internal research and in vitro diagnostic purposes.

Dermira will make an initial payment of $80 million and a further $55 million in 2018. Another $40 million will be paid once Dermira initiates the first phase 3 study of lebrikizumab and up to $210 million once certain milestones are met.

Finally, up to $1.03 billion will be paid once the drug achieves pre-specified sales targets for indications other than interstitial lung disease. The amount is separate from the royalties that will be paid on the sales of the drug.

Dermira plans to initiate a phase 2b dose-ranging study assessing lebrikizumab in adult patients with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis in the first quarter of 2018. The objective will be to optimize the dose of lebrikizumab for the design of a phase 3 program.

Dermira anticipates that it will spend approximately $200 million to obtain the top-line results for the phase 2b study.

Leerink Partners LLC acted as the financial adviser to Dermira, with King & Spalding LLP and Fenwick & West LLP acting as legal counsel.