- BridgeBio Pharma is taking a second shot at fully acquiring what used to be one of its wholly owned subsidiaries, Eidos Therapeutics. If completed, the deal would give the Palo Alto, California-based biotech control over a drug that may provide some added competition to a markets dominated by Pfizer and Alnylam Pharmaceuticals.
- BridgeBio created Eidos in 2017 with the goal of developing a drug — then known as AG10 — for the treatment of transthyretin amyloidosis, or ATTR, a disease in which misfolded proteins progressively damage nerves and organs. That drug, now called acoramidis, has since moved into advanced clinical testing, with early results expected in late 2021 or early 2022.
- Eidos went public in mid-2018. A little more than a year later, BridgeBio proposed an acquisition, but the deal fell apart as the companies couldn't agree on terms. Now, both parties have come to a deal in which BridgeBio will buy the 36% of Eidos common stock it doesn't already own. Eidos investors can trade every share they have for 1.85 shares of BridgeBio common stock, or they can sell them for $73.26 apiece, up to an aggregate maximum of $175 million in cash.
BridgeBio has an unusual structure for a drug company. Though it has its own extensive pipeline of genetic medicines, the biotech also oversees a crop of subsidiaries that are each hyper-focused on a specific area of drug development.
QED Therapeutics, for example, launched in 2017 to find treatments for cancers and other diseases caused by imperfections in a protein called FGFR. Another subsidiary, Adrenas Therapeutics, is investigating gene therapy as an answer to a group of disorders that affect the adrenal glands.
This hub-and-spoke model has proven attractive for investors. When BridgeBio went public last year, it was able to sell more shares and do so at a higher price than what it had planned for. The company ultimately raked in about $350 million from its initial public offering, providing cash to fund more drug discovery and development at its subsidiaries.
And since debuting on the public markets, the value of BridgeBio shares has grown almost 50%. Shares were trading at just under $40 apiece Monday morning.
An Eidos acquisition would add another late-stage program to BridgeBio's pipeline while removing the "operational complexity" involved in advancing acoramidis, CEO Neil Kumar said in a statement. The company, for instance, currently has to receive the approvals of two separate boards to move the drug forward, a barrier that would be removed if the deal is finalized.
In a statement, BridgeBio said that acoramidis will be the "keystone" in the company's cardiovascular work, and has the potential to be a best-in-its-class drug for both ATTR-related nerve damage and ATTR cardiomyopathy, a form of the disorder that affects the heart.
Kumar added that the acquisition also allows his company to "invest in all opportunities around acoramidis, including subsequent studies to potentially broaden the evidence for its usage, and accelerate its commercial development using BridgeBio’s established infrastructure."
Eidos recently completed screening for a pivotal, late-stage study that will test acroamidis in patients with ATTR cardiomyopathy. The company plans to enroll more than 600 participants and, if the results are positive, file for approval sometime in 2022.
Pfizer received the first Food and Drug Administration approvals for ATTR-cardiomyopathy with its medicines Vyndaquel and Vyndamax. Pfizer pointed to the drugs as a key source of growth in the second quarter, as they fetched $277 million in global revenue and achieved 140% operational growth in international markets. Like acoramidis, Vyndaquel and Vyndamax are taken orally.
Two other drugs, Alnylam's Onpattro and Ionis Therapeutics' Tegsedi, have been approved over the last couple of years to treat nerve damage associated with an inherited form of ATTR. Alnylam has outpaced its rival so far, chalking up $67 million in net revenue from Onpattro during the second quarter. Ionis, meanwhile, recorded $16 million in combined sales from Tegsedi and another product.