July 10, 2009 / 11:32 AM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 1-Vertex to sell rights to hepatitis C drug payments

* European success could yield $250 mln in payments

* J&J has European rights to telaprevir

NEW YORK, July 10 (Reuters) - Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc (VRTX.O) said on Friday it planned to sell rights to future milestone payments tied to progress in Europe for its high-profile experimental hepatitis C drug.

The payments would come from Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N), which licensed European rights to the drug, telaprevir, three years ago from Vertex. Vertex retains rights to the drug in North America.

The milestones anticipated for telaprevir in Europe include $100 million related to regulatory filing and approval for telaprevir and $150 million related to its launch. Vertex expects to earn these payments before April 2012, based on the drug’s projected timeline.

Telaprevir is being studied in three late-stage studies with more than 2,200 patients in the United States and Europe. Data from the studies are expected to be available in mid-2010.

Morgan Stanley is advising to Vertex in connection with the transaction. (Reporting by Lewis Krauskopf; Editing by Derek Caney)

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