Chiesi buys asthma company, pitting it against Novartis
- Privately-owned Italian pharma Chiesi Farmaceutici has snapped up the asthma-focused biotech Atopix Therapeutics, buying all outstanding shares and assets in a deal worth over €75 million ($80 million) if all regulatory and commercial milestones are hit.
- Through the acquisition, Chiesi adds an experimental oral treatment for severe eosinophilic asthma currently in Phase 2, along with a "back-up candidate" coming out of a Phase 1 safety study.
- Visiongain reports the global asthma and COPD market could be worth more than $33 billion in 2016.
This deal pits Chiesi against an established eosinophilic asthma market, which includes targeted biologics such as GlaxoSmithKline's Nucala (mepolizumab) and Teva's Cinqair/Cinqaero (reslizumab), both approved worldwide, and AstraZeneca's benralizumab, in Phase 3.
Unlike those biologic competitors, Atopix's OC459 is an oral CRTH2 antagonist. Its closest potential competitor in the oral severe asthma market is likely to be Novartis' fevipiprant, which is also a CRTH2 antagonist. Fevipiprant is currently in Phase 3, with a projected filing date of 2019.
Treatment with fevivpiprant substantially reduced levels of pro-inflammatory biomarkers known as eosinophils in a small trial, results of which were published this past August.
Eosinophilic asthma affects around 40% of asthma patients, and is linked with more severe disease and higher risk of hospitalization.
"The Atopix product candidates have the potential to effectively serve a currently difficult-to-treat and severe patient population with a patient-friendly oral dosage form, and moreover may be significantly cost- effective in the clinical setting," said Paolo Chiesi, director of R&D at Chiesi, in a statement on the acquisition.
- Chiesi Farmaceutici Statement
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