Drawing Shire parallel, Flemming Ørnskov mulls IPO for Galderma; Reistone shows results from eczema study with JAK1 blocker
Two years ago, Flemming Ørnskov took up a new challenge as CEO of Galderma with the expectation he would work the magic like he did with Shire — culminating in the rare disease biotech’s $62 billion sale to Takeda — with the pure-play dermatology outfit freshly spun out of Nestlé.
Now that the ship is steady, he’s seemingly setting his sights on an IPO.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Ørnskov said he’s accelerating research spending while recruiting more dermatologists and medical specialists to the company. The strategy, he added, is similar to Shire’s in the sense that he would double down on the science and shift to cutting-edge, high-risk products that can command high prices — even as Galderma continues to bring in revenue through its consumer aesthetic and skin care products such as Cetaphil moisturizers.
The pipeline is highlighted by nemolizumab, an anti-IL-31 antibody positioned for atopic dermatitis, prurigo nodularis and rosacea. And Ørnskov appears unfazed about steering straight into a crowded space.
“When I started as CEO at Shire, rare diseases was a minimal part of the business,” he said. “Even my board was probably skeptical.”
Galderma’s current owners, led by the investment firm EQT, are aiming for a valuation of up to $22 billion, Bloomberg reported citing insiders. — Amber Tong
Reistone finishes another JAK1 blocker study — this time in AD
Shanghai biotech Reistone Biopharma revealed positive results today from a Phase II study involving a topical ointment with JAK1 blocker SHR0302.
The study, which looked at the ointment in adults and adolescents with mild-to-moderate atopic dermatitis, had all three dosages (0.5%, 1% and 2%) meet the study’s primary endpoint of eczema improvement based on improved percentage change of a patient’s Eczema Area and Severity Index (EASI) score from baseline versus placebo at week 8.
This is not the only indication in the works for Reistone’s JAK1 blocker — back in August, the Chinese firm finished another Phase II study testing the drug in patients with patchy hair loss.
SHR0302 ointment was generally well-tolerated at all doses.
“We are pleased to see the positive results from this study of a new topical therapy,” said Reistone co-founder and CEO Min Irwin. “We believe this topical formulation will be an invaluable addition to the SHR0302 portfolio.” — Paul Schloesser
China’s Chance Pharmaceuticals raises $30M for drug pipeline and manufacturing facility
Chinese biotech Chance Pharmaceuticals finished a Series C round for $30 million, the company said in a statement today.
With the Series C led by new investor Lapan Capital alongside other new and existing investors, the $30 million is to advance Chance’s pipeline of inhalation therapies, start new business collaborations and assist in the building of their manufacturing facility.
The last fundraising was a Series B in June 2020, amounting to just over $707,000.
“We are optimistic about the market potential of transformative inhalation therapies,” commented Lapam Capital chairman Zhihua Yu. — Paul Schloesser
ATAI announces precision psychiatry biotech in partnership with Duke spinout
German biotech ATAI announced the launch of precision psychiatric player PsyProtix today, formed in a partnership with Duke University biotech spinout Chymia. The biotech will focus on developing therapeutics for treatment-resistant depression (TRD) and other mental health indications, according to a statement.
PsyProtix’s goal is to focus on metabolomic mechanisms and underlying depression symptoms for certain patients, with the goal of deriving more tailored and potentially customizable treatments for each individual patient.
“This emerging technology adapts to the variability of conditions, such as depression, with the aim of allowing patients with psychiatric disorders to potentially be diagnosed and treated more accurately and efficiently according to their specific needs,” said ATAI CSO and co-founder Srinivas Rao. — Paul Schloesser