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September 22, 2015

Nonprofit Regains Rights to TB Drug After Huge Price Spike

An Indiana nonprofit has bought back the rights to a medication for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis following an outcry over a commercial firm's more than twentyfold increase in the pill's price, The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg report.

Rodelis Therapeutics raised the price of a 30-pill packet of cycloserine from $480 to $10,800 after obtaining the rights last month from the Purdue Research Foundation, setting off protests from public-health officials.

"What they were doing was not what we thought was in the best interests of our patients," said Daniel Hasler, the president of the foundation, which is independent of Purdue University but manages intellectual property on its behalf.

The foundation sold the rights after several years of losing more than $1 million annually on the manufacture and sale of the cycloserine, which treats a condition for which there are fewer than 100 patients nationwide. After repaying Rodelis to regain the rights, the nonprofit will double its own former price, charging $1,050 for 30 pills, to help offset the losses. Sales made during Rodelis's rights period will revert to the new price, Mr. Hasler said.