Looking for the next blockbuster
Allschwil – Europe’s largest stand-alone biotech company Actelion Ltd. is receiving an injection of fresh capital. Under the guidance of the two biggest Swiss banks – UBS and Credit Suisse – the Swiss company will be issued a loan of up to €171m at a 4.9% interest rate. This will help push the Phase III programme for macitentan, the firm’s promising tissue-targeting endothelin receptor antagonist for pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Analysts say macitentan represents Actelion’s best hope for a blockbuster successor to pulmonary hypertension drug bosentan (Tracleer), which earned US$1.5bn in 2010. However, patents on the substance will expire in 2015. Tracleer also lost ground to Gilead’s Letairis in 2011. Results from the macitentan PAH trial are expected in the first half of next year. Actelion had a difficult 2011, with drug failures, an attempted board coup and an expensive lawsuit in the US.