Following widespread criticism for its price hike in its recently purchased Duchenne drug, Deflazacort, Marathon have agreed terms to sell the $89,000-a-year treatment to PTC Therapeutics, for $140 million in cash and stock.
Marathon's press release reads as follows:
All Members of the Duchenne Community, today marks an important milestone in the effort to bring EMFLAZATM (deflazacort) to patients age five years and older in the Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy community.
We are pleased to announce that we have reached an agreement for PTC Therapeutics, Inc. to acquire EMFLAZA, including the full commercialization rights. PTC is really the ideal partner to advance EMFLAZA. We believe this transaction ensures that thousands more children with Duchenne in the United States will have wide and consistent access to this important therapy. You can view the press release issued by PTC earlier today here.
We are proud of the success we achieved in securing FDA approval of EMFLAZA – the first time this drug has been approved for Duchenne muscular dystrophy anywhere in the world. Without FDA approval and the research needed for approval, there was not a complete understanding of the drug, no private or public insurance programs would cover EMFLAZA and very few health care providers would prescribe a non-FDA approved drug. More than 90 percent of the U.S. Duchenne population did not have access to this medicine. Of the 15,000 Duchenne patients in the U.S., 9,000 are age five or older. Now that EMFLAZA is FDA-approved in the U.S., a greater number of patients will have access to this important medicine. It is our great hope that this is a pathway for the development of additional treatments and more advanced care for the Duchenne community and that Marathon’s work will help DMD patients for generations to come.
We believe this transaction will help create the opportunities needed to ensure the greatest number of patients with Duchenne who might benefit from EMFLAZA can receive this drug. To guide us in our decision-making over the past several weeks, we conducted a comprehensive review of all the alternatives available to us. We had numerous discussions with advocacy groups, doctors, healthcare economists, payors, elected officials as well as others. We thank all of you for your valuable input and feedback.Following this period of review, we concluded that the best path forward is for PTC to commercialize EMFLAZA and to bring it to the DMD community. PTC has deep-rooted experience with Duchenne and will build upon the progress Marathon has made to date in securing FDA approval for EMFLAZA and bringing it to the point of commercialization. PTC provides a broader platform for patient access and is committed to ongoing research to advance the knowledge, diagnosis and treatment of this rare and fatal genetic disorder.
Our commitment to this community is strong. All of us at Marathon have been deeply touched by so many of you, and I want you to know how much we appreciate your commitment to finding the best possible ways to manage the effects of this disease. Every day, I am humbled as I learn of the challenges that all of you face, and it is a great honor to have been able to work with you to improve the lives of patients and by extension their families.
Finally, I want to thank all of the Marathon employees who have been the engine of our progress. Their hard work and commitment to addressing the unmet needs of the Duchenne community have been inspiring. PTC is truly fortunate to be adding many of these talented and passionate individuals to the combined team.Thank you for your support and commitment. We look forward to continuing to speak with so many of you now and in the future.