Novo Nordisk to Acquire Inversago Pharma

11.08.2023 - Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk has agreed to acquire Montreal, Canada-based Inversago Pharma. The transaction is worth up to $1.075 billion in cash if certain development and commercial milestones are achieved, the companies said in a statement.

Inversago develops CB1 receptor-based therapies for the potential treatment of obesity, diabetes and complications associated with metabolic disorders.

The acquisition includes Inversago’s lead development asset INV-202, an oral CB1 inverse agonist. INV-202 is designed to preferentially block the receptor protein CB1 – which plays an important role in metabolism and appetite regulation – in peripheral tissues such as adipose tissues, the gastro-intestinal tract, the kidneys, liver, pancreas, muscles and lungs.

INV-202 demonstrated weight loss potential in a Phase 1b trial and is currently in a Phase 2 trial for diabetic kidney disease (DKD). Additional pipeline assets are also being developed for metabolic and fibrotic disorders. Novo Nordisk said that it intends to investigate the potential of INV-202 for obesity and obesity-related complications.

“The acquisition of Inversago Pharma will further strengthen our clinical development pipeline in obesity and related disorders,” said Martin Holst Lange, executive vice president for Development at Novo Nordisk. “This promising class of medicine pioneered by the Inversago team could lead to life-changing new treatment options for those living with a serious chronic disease and, in particular, may offer alternative or complementary solutions for people living with obesity.”

“We are delighted to join forces with a global leader in the obesity and metabolic disorder space,” added François Ravenelle, CEO of Inversago Pharma. “We believe this combination will help unlock the full medical potential of our CB1 blockers and may one day expand treatment options for people living with metabolic syndrome, obesity and related complications.”

The closing of the deal is subject to receipt of applicable regulatory approvals and other customary conditions and is expected to happen before the end of 2023.

Novo Nordisk, the company behind the two weight-loss drugs Wegovy and Ozempic, has just announced record profits of $5.8 billion for the first half of this year. The drugs, which users inject themselves with a pen under the skin once a week, are intended to help obese or severely overweight people lose weight.