US drug giant Pfizer, which tried and failed to buy Astrazeneca for £70bn this year,yesterday announced the signing of a drug development deal with French cancer specialist Cellectis.
The deal includes an upfront sweetener for Cellectis of $80m (£47m) with $185m in milestone payments for each drug developed by Pfizer. In addition, Pfizer will purchase a 10 per cent stake in Cellectis through a new issue of shares, each bought at €9.25.
Shares in Paris-listed Cellectis shot up 76 per cent to €10.94 yesterday.
Mikael Dolsten, Pfizer’s head of research, told investors that the deal would create “a world class partnership”.
Pfizer hopes to reduce the research gap between itself and Novartis, the current leader in auto-immune drug development.
Swiss-based Novartis announced yesterday a plan to hive off three of its peripheral units in order to concentrate on pharmaceuticals, eye care and generics development.
The company hopes that the restructuring will boost its core operating margin by 2.5 percentage points to 27.2 per cent.
Chief executive Joe Jimenez said more work was needed to increase margins, with the current improvement being a “one-time reset”.
Jimenez also dismissed rumours that Novartis was considering selling off its stake in Roche.