Viatris sees Vision Drugs as key to growth and commits $750 million to two M&A deals - MedCity News

AstraZeneca is eyeing CinCor Pharma’s flagship drug as a complement to its current heart-kidney drugs, including blockbuster Farxiga. Looking at the further development of this drug and the potential of combining it with Farxiga, the pharmaceutical giant agreed to pay around $1.3 billion to buy CinCor.

The deal, announced Monday, works out to $26 in cash for each CinCor share, a price that represents a 121% premium to the Boston company’s closing price on Friday. When CinCor went public in 2021 with a $194 million IPOhe valued his shares at $16 apiece.

AstraZeneca was apparently unfazed by the recent phase 2 failure of the CinCor drug, baxdrostat, in hypertension. The results of the dose-finding study failed to show statistically significant reductions in blood pressure. However, CinCor indicated encouraging results in non-Hispanic patients. The company added that the failure to reach statistical significance was due to patients not being able to adhere to the drug regimen, which included continuing to take the antihypertensive drugs they had already been prescribed.

CinCor maintains that baxdrostat can move on to Phase 3 testing. The company aims to offer patients a drug that works differently than currently available antihypertensive drugs. The small molecule is designed to block an enzyme key to the synthesis of aldosterone, a hormone that regulates blood pressure. High levels of aldosterone are associated with several cardiovascular diseases. In addition to treatment-resistant hypertension, CinCor is developing the drug for primary aldosteronism and chronic kidney disease.

Baxdrostat’s approach is different from AstraZeneca’s Farxiga, a small molecule designed to block a protein called SGLT2. This stops glucose from being reabsorbed by the kidneys. The AstraZeneca drug has approvals for type 2 diabetes, heart failure and chronic kidney disease. By the end of the third quarter, AstraZeneca reported that in 2022 sales of Farxiga exceeded $3.2 billion.

“The acquisition of CinCor supports our commitment to cardiovascular disease and further strengthens our baxdrostat pipeline,” Mene Pangalos, AstraZeneca’s executive vice president of biopharmaceutical research and development, said in a prepared statement. “Excess aldosterone levels are associated with hypertension and several cardiovascular diseases, including chronic kidney disease and coronary artery disease, and the ability to effectively reduce this would offer a much-needed treatment option for these patients.”

In addition to acquiring all of CinCor’s remaining shares, AstraZeneca agreed to a contingent value option that pays $10 in cash per share if baxdrostat is submitted for regulatory review. Those payments could bring the value of the CinCor acquisition to about $1.8 billion.

Here’s a look at two other M&A deals that started the week:

Ipsen’s acquisition of Albireo brings drug for liver disease

It’s Ipsen acquisition of Albireobiotechnology that he developed and commercialized the first drug to treat pruritus, or severe itching, that is associated with the rare liver disease progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis (PFIC). France-based Ipsen agreed to pay $42 in cash for each Albireo share, an 84% premium to the biotech’s closing price on Friday. That initial purchase totaled about $952 million.

The drug Albireo, Bylvay, is approved in the US and Europe. The Boston-based company expects 2022 revenue from the drug to reach about $24 million. But this small molecule is a “pipeline into a product.” Albireo is developing the drug for additional liver diseases. Regulatory filings have been filed in the US and Europe seeking additional approval of the drug as a treatment for Alagille syndrome, a disease that affects the liver and causes itching. Bylvay is also in late stage development of biliary atresia. The acquisition of Albireo comes with contingent value rights related to this indication. Holders of these rights are to receive a cash payment of $10 per share upon FDA approval of Bylvay in biliary arteresis.

Ipsen and Albireo expect to close the deal by the end of the current quarter. Ipsen’s drug diversification efforts have led the company to become an active intermediary. Last year the company increased its oncology portfolio with the acquisition of Epizyme for $247 million and its commercialized follicular lymphoma drug, Tazverik. months later, Ipsen enters into an R&D alliance with Marengo Therapeuticsa start-up company developing new T-cell receptor cancer drugs.

The acquisition of Amryt brings Kiesi to rare skin diseases

Chiesi Farmaceutici expands its reach in rare medicines with acquisition of Amryt Pharma, an Ireland-based company with four commercialized products and a pipeline of drug candidates in various stages of development for skin diseases. Under the terms of the cash deal announced Sunday, Chiesi will acquire all of Amryt’s remaining American Depositary Shares for $14.50 each, representing a 107% premium to the stock’s closing price on Friday. This preliminary portion of the deal represents approximately $1.25 billion.

The acquisition agreement includes contingent value rights, milestone payments for Filsuvez. Last summer, the European Medicines Agency approved the drug Amryt for epidermolysis bullosa, a rare inherited disease that results in fragile skin prone to sores and blisters. That regulatory decision came four months after FDA rejects wound healing gel and asked for more data confirming its efficacy. Achieving the milestones – FDA approval of Filsuvez and the granting of a priority review voucher – could bring Amryt shareholders up to $225 million more.

Chiesi, which is based in Parma, Italy and has US operations in Boston, develops and markets products for respiratory health, rare diseases and specialty care. The boards of directors of Chiesi and Amryt have approved the acquisition, which is expected to close in the first half of this year.

Photo: mikdam, Getty Images

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