Maxygen is a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing improved versions of protein drugs  has inked a deal to sell its hemophilia drug development program to Bayer for $90 million upfront and up to $30 million in milestone payments. 

The program is still in the preclinical stage, with the blood clotting protein MAXY-VII scheduled for Phase I human trials in a matter of weeks. Bayer also gained the nonexclusive use of Maxygen's MolecularBreeding technology for 30 specific gene targets.

Bayer Schering Pharma is a worldwide leading specialty pharmaceutical company. Its research and business activities are focused on the following areas: Diagnostic Imaging, General Medicine, Specialty Medicine and Women's Healthcare.

"The agreement fits into our growth strategy for our specialty pharmaceutical business and builds on our expertise in the commercialization and manufacturing of protein therapeutics," said Gunnar Reimann, a member of Bayer's executive committee.

For Bayer, the development program offers a direct shot at building up its stock of therapies for hemophiliacs. Bayer already sells the blockbuster Kogenate, but the drug triggers an immune response in 20 percent to 30 percent of patients that makes the therapy ineffective. Bayer earned €233 million on Kogenate in the first quarter

Hemophilia is an inherited bleeding disorder caused by deficient or defective blood coagulation proteins. Nearly 20 to 30 percent of patients with hemophilia develop antibodies – or inhibitors – to current therapies. “MAXY-VII has the potential to be an important expansion of therapeutic options for people living with hemophilia and we are pleased to add this to our global development portfolio.