Recently frustrated in its attempt to win a regulatory approval at the FDA, Eagle Pharmaceuticals $EGRX has swooped in to buy Polaris-backed Arsia Therapeutics for a relatively modest upfront payment. The deal comes with the services of Arsia’s scientific co-founders, MIT’s high profile drug delivery specialist Bob Langer and Alexander Klibanov, who are signing on as advisers to the new owners.
Arsia is going for $30 million up front; $27.3 million in cash and another $2.7 million in stock. And Woodcliff Lake, NJ-based Eagle added $48 million in potential milestones.
As part of this deal, Arsia’s scientific team is being transferred to Eagle, which is keeping the biotech’s presence in the Cambridge, MA hub.
Eagle has a market cap of $1.3 billion.
Langer has long specialized in advancing new technologies designed to improve therapies through reformulation. In this case, Arsia— helmed by Pfizer vet and Polaris partner Amy Schulman — dealt with the viscosity of biologics; creating condensed therapies that are easier to administer. By reformulating these drugs Arsia — now Eagle — expects to make it possible to deliver them through subcutaneous injection rather than more difficult IV approaches.
That tech drew the attention of Biogen $BIIB, which partnered with Arsia on its hemophilia drugs, which are being spun out into a new company.
That tech also fits well into Eagle’s plans to come up with so-called biobetters, new and improved versions of some high earners in the field. Last spring the FDA rejected Eagle’s application for a quick-use version of the anticoagulant Angiomax.
Importantly, Arsia currently has several early-stage partnerships with pharmaceutical companies. “We plan to partner with key biosimilar companies to help alter their existing pipelines into biobetters. This is a natural extension of Eagle’s business model, applied to the biologics space,” stated Scott Tarriff, President and Chief Executive Officer of Eagle.
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