Allergan bags two new deals, takes option to buy Lysosomal Therapeutics and pays $50M for microbiome pact

Kees Been

Allergan swooped into JP Morgan bearing news of a pair of deals, inking an exclusive option to buy out Lysosomal Therapeutics for its neurodegeneration pipeline and paying $50 million upfront to partner with Assembly Bio on the microbiome.

Allergan bought the option on Lysosomal Therapeutics — run by Kees Been — pegging an unspecified price for the biotech after the Phase Ib comes through with data on Parkinson’s disease for their drug LTI-291. Allergan, which is not in the least bit reluctant to pay a premium for what it wants, also added some financial support for R&D at the company, but declined to spell out the details.

LTI has been developing small molecules that cross the blood-brain barrier and increase GCase activity — correcting lysosomal enzyme glucocerebrosidase mutations that can cause the buildup of lipids in cells — to potentially treat the root cause of Parkinson’s.

Allergan paid $50 million upfront to partner with Indianapolis-based Assembly Biosciences on two preclinical drugs aimed at ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Allergan will also get worldwide rights for two more candidates focused on irritable bowel syndromes.

Allergan will share early development costs on these programs, then takes control after proof-of-concept.

The vast landscape of the microbiome has become a key field for a new wave of biotechs looking to modulate disease by targeting microbes that populate the gut. It’s still largely an early-stage area, though, putting Allergan in with an early-stage collaboration to help beef up a rapidly growing pipeline.

Over the past year Allergan CEO Brent Saunders has been on a tear, buying up or partnering a range of programs as he looks to construct a major pipeline for new product development.

“The microbiome — the microbial populations that colonize the human body — is rapidly gaining prominence in numerous fields of research relevant to Allergan’s key areas of focus, including GI disorders,” said David Nicholson, Chief R&D Officer, Allergan.

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Research Scientist - Immunology
Recursion Pharmaceuticals Salt Lake City, UT
Director of Operations
Atlas Venture Cambridge, MA

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