Roivant begins latest 'Vant' with Ligand deal
- Vivek Ramaswamy's Roivant Sciences Ltd. is starting its seventh 'Vant,' with the latest subsidiary focusing on the development of cardiometabolic drugs.
- A licensing deal with Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc. will kick things off for Metavant Sciences. The deal centers on Ligand's glucagon receptor agonist (GRA) LGD-6972, which is meant to lower glucose levels in patients with diabetes.
- Metavant will be responsible for all development, regulatory, manufacturing and commercial activity. Roivant is paying $20 million upfront and has agreed to as much as $528.8 million in milestone payments, plus royalties on any sales.
Ramaswamy has a business model that has drawn both praise and criticism. The high-profile investor-turned-biotech CEO has raised $2.7 billion in funding under the Roivant umbrella, and launches subsidiaries to focus on specific therapeutic areas.
Axovant, an Alzheimer's and neurologically focused biotech, is likely the most famous — or infamous — at this point. The company attracted a lot of eyes when it brought in $315 million from its initial public offering, even though at the time it only had an early-stage Alzheimer's drug in development. The drug has since failed, and Axovant's renowned CEO David Hung exited unceremoniously. Plans for Axovant moving forward are still up in the air.
Ramaswamy is now turning his focus to diabetes and Metavant. The deal with Ligand fits the Roivant business model of acquiring mid- to late-stage assets that are discarded by other companies.
Ligand has taken LGD-6972 through a successful Phase 2 trial that showed statistically significant results in lowering blood glucose levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. The results will be presented at the American Diabetes Association meeting in June of this year.
Last month, Roivant inked another diabetes-focused deal with Poxel SA, licensing the French company's imeglimin for $35 million upfront. Imeglimin will be developed by Metavant as well.
Roivant has five other subsidiaries beyond Axovant and Metavant, with focuses in dermatology, urology, rare diseases and healthcare analytics.
- Roivant Sciences Statement
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