Amgen to Buy Dezima Pharma, Collaborates with Xencor
US biopharmaceutical group Amgen is to acquire Dezima Pharma, a privately held Dutch biotechnology company focused on developing treatments for dyslipidemia. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year, subject to the usual conditions and regulatory approvals.
Dezima’s lead product is an oral, once-daily cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) inhibitor, known as TA-8995, which has been shown in a phase 2b clinical trial to reduce low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) by 45-48%. Patients suffering from dyslipidemia have abnormal (usually elevated) levels of lipids, such as cholesterol, in their bloodstreams.
Sean E. Harper, executive vice president of research and development at Amgen, said: “With a portfolio of TA-8995 and Repatha, our recently launched LDL-C lowering PCSK9 inhibitor, we will be able to offer more treatment options with different mechanisms of action and modes of administration across varying LDL-C levels and risk profiles.”
Amgen will pay $300 million in cash on closing the deal and up to $1.25 billion in additional payments if certain development and sales milestones are achieved. Royalties will also be paid on net sales above a certain (undisclosed) threshold.
Dezima Pharma, which will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Amgen, originally licensed the rights to TA-8995 from Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corp (MTPC). It will pay MTPC a portion of the payments and royalties received. MTPC will also retain development and commercialization rights to TA-8995 in certain countries in Asia, including Japan.
Meanwhile, Amgen has entered into a research and license agreement with Xencor on cancer immunotherapy and inflammation therapeutics. Xencor develops engineered monoclonal antibodies to treat cancer, autoimmune diseases, and asthma and allergic diseases.
The collaboration combines Amgen’s capabilities in target discovery and protein therapeutics with Xencor’s XmAb bispecific technology platform. Bispecific technologies seek to engineer monoclonal antibodies to bind two unique drug targets, compared with traditional antibodies that are designed to bind to a single target.
Amgen will assume full responsibility for preclinical and clinical development, and commercialization worldwide. Xencor will receive an upfront payment of $45 million and up to $1.7 billion in clinical, regulatory and sales milestone payments, as well as royalties.