United axes PAH program Trevyent, once bought for cheap in acquisition of a rival, after FDA feedback
About three years after acquiring SteadyMed and its experimental pulmonary arterial hypertension drug Trevyent, United Therapeutics has decided to kick the program to the curb.
In an 8-K form filed with the SEC on Tuesday, United revealed that they are shutting down development of Trevyent after receiving feedback from the FDA last week. The move marks the end of a long and bumpy road for the program, which had previously earned an RTF in 2017 and a CRL last April, as United moves forward with new Tyvaso formulations.
Regulators had directed United to both redesign the Trevyent product and conduct an entirely new clinical study. That not only would have added significant delays to the program, United wrote, but may have proved unsuccessful in answering the FDA’s concerns.
Specifically, the FDA took issue with the product’s pump device. Trevyent uses a pump to deliver a reformulated version of United’s mainstay PAH drug Remodulin. The accuracy of the pump, however, was not up to snuff in regulators’ eyes, and United said the agency wanted the company to improve the accuracy “in certain respects.”
So United has decided to throw in the towel. They’re halting all development of the program after determining it wouldn’t be commercially reasonable to move forward. It marks an unceremonious end to a program they once picked up for a bargain from their competitors at SteadyMed in 2018.
With the $216 million buyout, United had been looking to head off a PAH clash between the two companies by acquiring Trevyent itself. In addition to that program, SteadyMed at the time had been trying to invalidate one of United’s patents for the active ingredient in three of its prominent franchises: Remodulin, Tyvaso and Orenitram.
Though United moved forward with Trevyent, submitting its NDA to US regulators in September 2019, the agency rejected its pitch in an April 2020 CRL. The FDA had said that some of the deficiencies previously pointed out had “not yet been addressed to its satisfaction,” United said at the time. United had been working on a new pitch and Tuesday’s decision stemmed from its subsequent meeting with the FDA to resubmit Trevyent for approval.
It’s the latest in a couple of pipeline setbacks United has seen over the last few years. In 2019, the company dropped PAH hopeful esuberaprost after it failed a combo Phase III study, failing to show benefit when combined with Tyvaso over United’s older Remodulin drug. Then, in February, United revealed that a Phase II/III trial combining their Unituxin antibody with a standard treatment, irinotecan, failed to help small cell lung cancer patients live longer.
United is instead moving forward with an inhaled reformulation of Tyvaso after snagging a priority review voucher from Y-mAbs Therapeutics last December for $105 million. The voucher had originally been slated for Y-mAbs’ application for Danyelza in neuroblastoma, and it wasn’t used for the FDA’s approval in November.