M&A

Allergan chief snaps up a rival biotech for $195M in cash, plus. Deal beefs up the aesthetics pipeline

Just after the start of the year, the crew of ex-Allergan execs that launched Bonti raised more than $15 million to back their development of a rival botulinum neurotoxin dubbed EB-001 for therapeutic and aesthetic uses.

And Allergan $AGN wants it.

Mike Jarpe

The biopharma company has wrapped a deal to buy Bonti for $195 million upfront, marking a nice payback for the founders and investors, who had gathered a bit more than $36 million for the venture. There are milestones, but no one spelled it out in the release out Friday morning.

If EB-001 sounds like Botox, that’s no coincidence. The executive crew at Bonti has a considerable amount of experience for drugs that can smooth over wrinkles. The Newport Beach, CA-based biotech has been targeting its use for pain, channeling some of its funds to a mid-stage trial testing EB-001 as an opioid alternative. Bonti had touted their lead program as a fast-acting alternative to Botox.

Co-founder Mike Jarpe spent 4 years at Allergan before jumping ship for Bonti, leaving his job as vice president of biologics development.

Allergan has plenty of competition remaining, though. Revance $RVNC has claimed victory in a head-to-head Phase III with its rival. And the biotech allied with Mylan on building a biosimilar that could be used to carve away Allergan’s multibillion-dollar market for the drug.

Revance shares are down 13% today on the news.

Brent Saunders

“The acquisition of Bonti is a strategic investment for the future of our medical aesthetics business and has the potential to enhance our best-in-class medical aesthetics pipeline,” said Allergen CEO Brent Saunders. “With the medical aesthetics market vastly expanding, a fast-acting neurotoxin with a 2 to 4-week duration will be an attractive option for consumers, particularly those who are considering a Medical Aesthetics treatment for the first time.”


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