Roughly 15 years ago, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation began providing $150 million in funding to Vertex Pharmaceuticals and another small company it acquired to develop treatments for the deadly lung disease. Vertex created the first drug to treat the underlying cause of cystic fibrosis rather than just the symptoms, slowing the rate of decline in lung function. A cross-office team of Goodwin Life Sciences practice lawyers advised Royalty Pharma in its $3.3 billion acquisition of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s royalties on Vertex Pharmaceuticals’ CF drugs.
Vertex, which is based in Boston, is testing two other drugs that have also shown promise in clinical trials. Wall Street analysts project that the family of medicines could eventually have sales of several billion dollars a year. And by selling its rights to the royalties to those drugs, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation received $3.3 billion in what is believed to be the largest pharmaceutical royalty purchase ever completed. The amount is 20 times the foundation’s annual budget and will be used to expand cystic fibrosis research, care and service programs.