A 2-year-old fledgling biotech steers into PhIII and nabs a quick $565M buyout deal
A biotech startup in Europe with a very careful focus on a single Phase III therapy has quickly parlayed a drug/device play for a rare lung disease into a $565 million buyout deal.
The Italian pharma Zambon is paying close to $160 million in cash to get its hands on Breath Therapeutics, which officially launched just a couple of years ago with a $46 million A round and technology spun out of PARI Pharmaceuticals and the lab of Aldo Iacono at the University of Maryland.
They were using an inhaled formulation of liposomal cyclosporine A with a special nebulizer tech to treat Bronchiolitis Obliterans Syndrome, an orphan respiratory disease linked to poor 5-year survival rates on lung transplants. A small team working with CEO Jens Stegemann had steered that tech into two Phase III trials designed to provide a relatively quick turnaround on pivotal data.
The A round came from Paris-based Sofinnova Partners — partner Graziano Seghezzi took the lead there, helping recruit ProQR vet Noreen Henig for the CMO role — and gimv, who will now be well rewarded for the gamble, regardless of how it plays out in Phase III. The deal includes $405 million in milestones.
Social image: Zambon