Cytokinetics chief Blum grabs $100M royalty deal to fund an expanded marketing plan for PhIII heart drug

Robert Blum

Cytokinetics CEO Robert Blum has struck a $100 million deal for a piece of the prospective royalty stream for their heart drug omecamtiv mecarbil, which he in turn will use to fund a portion of the Phase III study now underway at Amgen while leveraging co-promotion rights in the US.

Royalty Pharma is paying $90 million upfront in exchange for dibs on a 4.5% royalty stream on omecamtiv mecarbil. And they’re throwing in another $10 million to buy a piece of equity in Cytokinetics.

In return, Cytokinetcs $CYTK will buy into the Phase III, paying $40 million to support the research effort and getting an incremental royalty of 4% on sales outside of Japan.

The deal sets up a shift to a possible commercial role, provided the Phase III comes through. Phase III studies for heart drugs are big and extremely risky. But Blum is eager to set up a joint commercial team for North American sales, with Amgen on the hook for some of their marketing costs.

“This is a significant deal for Cytokinetics as it affords us significant working capital to advance our corporate development strategy towards commercialization as well as ascribes external value from the industry’s premier royalty fund to the economics we retain on omecamtiv mecarbil under our collaboration with Amgen,” Blum tells me.

The drug activates cardiac myosin, amping up the heart’s ability to contract. A total of 448 patients were evaluated in the expansion phase of the Phase II study, which delivered positive data for the oral version in late 2015. The IV version failed two years earlier.

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