Incyte to acquire Medicxi-backed Villaris Therapeutics

Incyte has entered into an agreement to acquire Villaris Therapeutics, an asset-focused biopharmaceutical company founded by Medicxi and focused on developing novel antibodies for the treatment of vitiligo.

The deal could be worth more than $1.4 billion.

Its lead, auremalimab (VM6), an anti-IL-15Rβ monoclonal antibody (mAb), is expected to enter clinical development in 2023.

Under the terms of the agreement, Incyte will acquire Villaris and exclusive global rights to develop and commercialize auremalimab for all indications, including vitiligo and other autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Incyte will make an upfront payment of $70 million, and Villaris shareholders will be eligible to receive up to $310 million upon achievement of certain development and regulatory milestones, as well as up to $1.05 billion in additional commercial milestones from net sales of the product.

“This acquisition complements our current portfolio, enabling us to further improve treatment options for people with vitiligo, leveraging the expertise we have built in the dermatology space through our successful launch of Opzelura (ruxolitinib) cream,” said Hervé Hoppenot, Chief Executive Officer of Incyte.

“People living with immune-mediated dermatological diseases such as vitiligo face significant challenges, and we are committed to developing new therapies, such as auremalimab, that can address these unmet needs.”

“going forward”

John E. Harris, professor and chair of the Department of Dermatology at the University of Massachusetts Chan School of Medicine and founder of Villaris, said, “I am very excited about the potential of auremalimab for the treatment of vitiligo and other conditions with significant unmet need, and see it now moving forward with capabilities and resources of Incyte. Back in 2019, I was thrilled to partner with Michel Ollier and the Medicxi team to build Villaris as a single-purpose, asset-driven company with a laser focus on developing auremalimab for people with vitiligo who desperately need better treatments. This next phase of development with Incyte will help make that a reality.”

Nick Williams, partner at Medicxi, said: “Auremolimab has the potential to transform the lives of people living with vitiligo, and we are delighted to be working with Incyte, a pioneering company in this indication, to explore the wider potential of auremolimab.”

The agreement is subject to US antitrust approval under the Hart-Scott-Robin Act and will become effective once that condition is satisfied.

About auremolimab

Auremolimab (VM6) is a novel ultrahumanized anti-IL-15Rβ (CD122) antibody designed to target and deplete autoreactive resident memory T cells (TRM), which has demonstrated efficacy in the treatment of vitiligo in preclinical models. IND-enabling studies are currently underway and clinical development is expected to begin in 2023. Incyte to acquire Medicxi-backed Villaris Therapeutics

Back to top button