Ipsen splurges $25M on its second rare disease drug pact of the year, with more on the way
Eight months after reeling in Clementia and their drug palovarotene in a $1.3 billion buyout deal, David Meek has another rare disease therapy to add to the pipeline at Ipsen.
The Paris-based biotech (EPA: $IPN) is fronting $25 million in cash to acquire worldwide rights to Blueprint’s BLU-782, an ALK2 inhibitor designed to fight an ultra-rare genetic condition called fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva, or simply FOP. And there’s the full slate of $510 million more for milestones running through development, regulatory as well as commercial.
That didn’t help Blueprint’s share price, though. The stock was in the red ahead of the bell with investors likely a little edgy over the limited amount of cash involved and a lower likelihood of a buyout that would have jacked up their equity value considerably.
At the beginning of this year, BLU-782 had been teed up as the next drug to beef up the biotech’s pipeline, with plans to run a Phase I in healthy volunteers and then pivot to Phase II in the first half of next year.
Loxo Oncology $LOXO — acquired by Eli Lilly — and Blueprint Medicines $BPMC have been duking it out with their studies on rival RET inhibitors, with the Loxo drug typically coming out ahead in the comparisons. Back in June Blueprint also submitted an NDA for avapritinib, a treatment for adults with PDGFRA Exon 18 mutant gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST), regardless of prior therapy, and fourth-line GIST.
Ipsen, meanwhile, seems happy to pursue more rare disease drugs as Meek positions the company along some familiar lines in the industry. Rare diseases — with their small trials and accelerated reviews — has become an attractive space for a broad swath of biotechs around the world.
Social image: David Meek, Ipsen Group via Youtube