Shares of Protalix BioTherapeutics Inc. jumped in premarket trading Wednesday after the drug developer announced a deal that requires the Brazilian government to buy at least $280 million of the company's Gaucher disease treatment.
The Israeli company said an arm of the Brazilian Ministry of Health has committed to buying at least $40 million of the drug annually during the seven-year agreement for Uplyso, which is marketed as Elelyso in the United States and Israel.
During the agreement, Protalix will transfer the technology needed for the Brazilian government to build at its own expense a factory to make a sustainable supply of Uplyso. Protalix doesn't have to complete the final stage of its technology transfer until the government has made at least $280 million in Uplyso purchases.
Protalix worked with Pfizer Inc., the world's second-largest drugmaker, to develop Elelyso, and it will have to pay Pfizer a maximum of about $12.5 million from its annual profits generated in Brazil during the agreement. Pfizer returned its commercialization rights to the drug in Brazil to Protalix.
Gaucher disease is a rare genetic disorder caused by deficiency of an important enzyme. The condition can cause liver and neurological problems.
The Food and Drug Administration and Israeli regulators approved Elelyso last year, and Brazilian regulators approved it in March.
U.S.-traded shares of Protalix jumped 9.3 percent, or 47 cents, to $5.54 in premarket trading about two hours ahead of the market opening.
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