UCB Acquires Engage Therapeutics

10.06.2020 -

Belgian biopharma UCB has acquired US clinical-stage pharmaceutical company Engage Therapeutics.

The Summit, New Jersey-headquartered firm is developing Staccato Alprazolam, an investigational, Phase 2 drug, designed as a single-use rescue therapy for terminating an epileptic seizure. The small hand-held inhaler device combines the Staccato delivery system that rapidly vaporizes alprazolam, a benzodiazepine, to form an aerosol, with particle size designed for deep lung delivery to produce a rapid, systemic effect.

Engage acquired worldwide rights to Staccato Alprazolam in 2017 under a license agreement with Alexza Pharmaceuticals. UCB has also entered into an updated license and related commercial supply agreement with Alexza, under which the parties will continue to collaborate in the drugs’s development and commercialization.

“Staccato Alprazolam is an excellent strategic fit with our patient value growth strategy in epilepsy,” said UCB’s executive vice president and head of neurology Charl van Zyl. “It offers a potential solution for acute, on-demand treatment of a seizure, an unmet need for up to 30% of all epileptic patients, and strengthens our current epilepsy portfolio by adding this late-stage asset.”

UCB paid $125 million cash (subject to certain adjustments) for Engage and is liable to pay another $145 million in potential milestone payments related to the clinical development, submission and launch of Staccato Alprazolam.