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UCB SA (UCBJF - Snapshot Report) and Dermira, Inc. announced that they have entered into a licensing agreement for the development and commercialization of Cimzia in dermatology.

Terms of the Deal

UCB granted an exclusive license to Dermira for the development of Cimzia for psoriasis in the U.S., EU and Canada. Dermira will bear the cost of phase III development of Cimzia for dermatology. If approved, Dermira can commercialize Cimzia in the U.S. and Canada. Though sales will be recorded by UCB, Dermira will receive tiered royalties on sales. Dermira will receive up to $49.5 million and $40 million on the achievement of development/regulatory and tiered commercial milestones, respectively.

Under this deal, UCB invested $5 million in Dermira’s equity. It could invest up to an additional $15 million in Dermira's equity financings.

Cimzia is already approved for the treatment of adults suffering from moderately-to-severely active rheumatoid arthritis, active psoriatic arthritis and active ankylosing spondylitis as well as for reducing the signs and symptoms of Crohn's disease. In Europe, Cimzia is approved for an additional indication − active axial spondyloarthritis. In 2013, net sales of Cimzia were €594 million, up 27% y/y.

Our Take

We are positive on UCB’s deal with Dermira. Cimzia is an important growth driver for UCB apart from Vimpat and Neupro. The drug, if successfully developed for the treatment of psoriasis, will expand the eligible patient population for the Cimzia while boosting its sales potential.

Investors looking for well-positioned stocks in the health care sector may consider Biogen Idec Inc. (BIIB - Analyst Report), ANI Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ANIP - Snapshot Report) and ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ARIA - Analyst Report). While Biogen and ANI Pharma carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), ARIAD holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).