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Myogen: Are We There Yet?

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biotechnology management case

Mark J. Ahn and Travis Cook
Atkinson Graduate School of Management, Willamette University

Summary and key issue/decision: In 2006, Myogen, Inc., a ten-year old Boulder, Colorado-based development-stage biotechnology company with two late stage product candidates, received an acquisition offer from Gilead. Myogen and multinational pharmaceutical GlaxoSmithKline had already entered into a global collaboration in which Myogen received marketing and distribution rights to GlaxoSmithKline.s Flolan® (epoprostenol sodium) in the United States and GlaxoSmithKline in exchange licensed Letairis® (ambrisentan) from Myogen for all territories outside of the United States. This decision-based case evaluates the strategic options of Dr. William Freytag, president and chief executive officer and the board of directors of whether to sell Myogen to Gilead, vertically integrate and establish commercial operations, or seek other approaches to maximize value and manage risk from its late-stage product pipeline.

Companies/institutions: Myogen, Gilead, GlaxoSmithKline, University of Colorado-Boulder

Technology: Endothelin receptor antagonists Stage of development at time of issue/decision: Myogen.s lead product, Letairis® (ambrisentan) for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), had recently completed two Phase III clinical trials and was about to submit a New Drug Application (NDA) to the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration). Myogen was also developing darusentan for the treatment of patients with resistant hypertension. Indication/therapeutic area: Treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension (WHO Group I) in patients with WHO class II or III symptoms to improve exercise capacity and delay clinical worsening. Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a disease of the pulmonary vasculature characterized by vasoconstriction and vascular proliferation, which leads to right heart failure and death.

Geography: US

Keywords: Letairis® (ambrisentan), pulmonary arterial hypertension, acquisition

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