Unfortunately, the Biotech world is not only composed of success stories. Active Biotech, a Swedish company focused on developing treatments for neurodegenerative diseases and cancer. The company, engaged with Ipsen, discontinued a Phase III study and is currently discovering the consequences of this failure the hard way.
Active Biotech’s business model, like many small red biotechs, is based on partnering with bigger pharmaceuticals companies. Since its creation, the Swedish company established 4 partnerships including 2 large ones, the first back in 2004 with TEVA Pharmaceutical and the second and largest in 2011 with Ipsen.
Ipsen agreed on a collaboration with Active Biotech for the Tasquinimod compound, studied for the treatment of prostate cancer in Phase II by the Scandinavians. The partnership between both companies consisted in an upfront payment by Ipsen of €25M for the conduct of the Phase III clinical trial, with an additional €200M reward with the achievement of clinical, regulatory and commercial milestones. This partnership enabled Active Biotech to begin a phase III study and to develop its internal activities.