Myovant grabs $40M upfront in regional deal for relugolix; Akero announces NASH success but Covid-19 delays
→ Having just filed for the European approval of its uterine fibroids drug relugolix, Myovant has sold the regional rights off to Hungarian biotech Gedeon Richter. Comprising $40 million in upfront, $40 million in regulatory milestones and $107.5 million in sales-related payments, the deal covers not just Europe but also Russia, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand. Myovant, a women’s health and prostate cancer spinoff of Vivek Ramaswamy’s Roivant that is now majority-owned by Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma, in-licensed the compound from Takeda and finds itself in competition with Orilissa from AbbVie and Neurocrine.
→ Rare disease player ProQR said its RNA therapy is showing early promise against a genetic disorder that causes vision and hearing loss. In an interim analysis of the Phase I/II trial, investigators found QR-421a to be safe. Two of the eight retinitis pigmentosa patients treated with the drug saw improvements by multiple measures (one each on the low and medium doses), while the six patients on the placebo arm experienced no meaningful benefits. The biotech plans to expand the medium 100 µg cohort while adding a high, 200 µg dose to the trial, beginning dosing as soon as it can under a cloud of Covid-19 uncertainty.
→ After a year of failures and delays in NASH, a mid-size biotech is offering a glimmer of upside. Akero Therapeutics announced that its lead compound passed the week 12 primary endpoint in Phase IIa trial, with the 59 patients who received the drug seeing absolute liver fat reductions of 12-14%. Patients in the highest dosing arm also saw reductions in fat of over 70% relative to placebo, hitting a secondary endpoint. The company, though, said that Covid-19 could interrupt the trial. It had already led them to delay the start of one study cohort and could interfere with data collection for the trial.