PhII Alzheimer's data looming, Shionogi spending up to $500M on a buyout involving one of the toughest bets in biotech
Shionogi moved a couple of months ago to get in tight with a low-profile biotech called Tetra Therapeutics in Grand Rapids, MI. And whatever they learned about their 2 Phase II studies in Alzheimer’s and Fragile X syndrome persuaded the pharma player to ante up to $500 million more on a buyout.
Tuesday morning, Shionogi announced that it is buying Tetra outright as the biotech navigates the final stretches on 2 mid-stage trials.
Both indications are in the extreme high-risk category, with Tetra building on a series of grants to test its own approach on protecting the neuronal connections that play a major role in cognition and memory.
Their lead drug is BPN14770, which targets an enzyme that is supposed to modulate PDE4D. Shionogi originally got involved with Tetra back in 2018, when execs signed up licensing rights in Asia.
In March Shionogi followed up with a deal to expand its stake in Tetra to 50%, inking an option on the buyout based on the readout for the Phase II PICASSO AD study in Alzheimer’s.
The announcement, though, is short on financial details. That’s not too surprising, as Shionogi is expanding into a field noted for 10 years of failure and controversy. Alzheimer’s has resisted just about everything thrown against it, with no success in modulating the disease itself. Biogen has attracted equal parts of praise and criticism for its own attempt at getting a drug across the finish line.
We can now wait for near-term proof-of-concept data from Shionogi, which is keeping the little biotech as a wholly-owned subsidiary.