China-based Everest Medicine has terminated its licensing and partnership agreement with Canada-based Providence Therapeutics. 

Everest will pay $4m as part of the termination agreement and will not need to pay any milestone payments or royalties on the products it develops in the future, except for rabies and shingles vaccines that were developed in collaboration with Providence. Everest will also retain full rights to all intellectual property rights provided, transferred, or made available by Providence to the company before the termination of the agreement.

The 2021 collaboration agreement granted Everest licencing rights to Providence’s mRNA Covid-19 vaccine candidates in various Asian markets including Greater China, Southeast Asia and Pakistan. The agreement also allowed the Chinese company access to Providence’s mRNA technology platform to develop mRNA products.

Everest and Providence’s Providence’s mRNA Covid-19 vaccine candidate, PTX-COVID19-B, had showed non-inferiority in a Phase II trial (NCT05175742) against Pfizer/BioNTech’s mRNA Covid-19 vaccine Comirnaty. PTX-COVID19-B superiority as a booster vaccine is also being studied in a Phase III trial (NCT05534035) against AstraZeneca’s Vaxzevria.

The pharmaceutical sector has seen a drastic fall in the revenues generated by Covid-19 vaccines and products. In October 2023, Pfizer reduced its 2023 revenue expectations for its Covid-19 antiviral pill Paxlovid (nirmatrelvir/ritonavir) by around $7bn. The company also reduced its revenue expectations by $2bn for Comirnaty.

Moderna also reported a 42% drop in the global revenue generated by the Covid-19 vaccine Spikevax in Q3 2023 compared to the same period in 2022. In June 2023, Walgreens Boots Alliance instituted cost-saving measures after reporting a $171m drop in profits in Q3 2023 compared to the same period in 2022. Walgreens’ CEO at the time Rosalind Brewer blamed the “significantly lower demand for Covid-related services” for the significant drop in its profits.

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Other therapies in Everest’s portfolio include the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved Velsipity (etrasimod) for the treatment of moderate-to-severe active ulcerative colitis developed in partnership with Pfizer, and Tarpeyo (budesonide) for the treatment of primary immunoglobulin A nephropathy (IgAN) licensed from Calliditas Therapeutics.

Cell & Gene Therapy coverage on Pharmaceutical Technology is supported by Cytiva

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