Eligard® is a hormone compound for the treatment of advanced, hormone-dependent prostate cancer. The active ingredient (leuprolide acetate) significantly reduces the level of the male sex hormone testosterone, thus suppressing testosterone-dependent tumor growth. The established active ingredient is combined with a novel drug delivery system known as Atrigel® depot technology. The liquid drug is injected subcutaneously and Eligard® forms a gel-like implant which slowly disintegrates, steadily releasing the drug over a period of one, three or six months, depending on the dosage administered.
Medigene acquired the European marketing rights to Eligard® from Atrix Laboratories, Inc. (now Tolmar Therapeutics, Inc.) and successfully brought the drug through the market approval procedure in Germany. The European market launch of Eligard® by Medigene’s partner Astellas Pharma Europe, Ltd. started as early as 2004. Eligard® in its one-month, three-month and six-month dosage forms is now available in most European countries.
Administration of Eligard® (formation of gel-like implant)
In mid-2010, Medigene sold the exclusive European marketing and distribution rights for Eligard® to Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd. against payment of €25 million and royalties of 2% on product sales. With the sale of the Eligard® rights, Medigene no longer bears any obligations or risks associated with the supply of Eligard® to Astellas. In addition, Medigene will no longer be liable for any procurement costs and license payments to Tolmar.
In June 2012, Medigene transferred its two percent royalty share of Eligard® European net sales to US-based investor, Cowen Healthcare Royalty Partners II, L.P., for a cash payment of appr. €14.1 million. Medigene plans to invest these proceeds in further strengthening the company’s pipeline.