Allergan, a global pharmaceutical company, and Vitae Pharmaceuticals, a clinical-stage biotechnology company, have entered into a definitive agreement under which Allergan will acquire Vitae for $21.00 per share, in cash, for a total transaction value of approximately $639 million. The Boards of Directors of both companies have unanimously approved the transaction.
The acquisition will strengthen Allergan's dermatology product pipeline, with the addition of VTP-43742, a phase II first-in-class, orally active RORγt (retinoic acid receptor-related orphan receptor gamma) inhibitor for the potential treatment of psoriasis and other autoimmune disorders. VTP-43742 acts through the potent inhibition of IL-17 activity. In preclinical studies, VTP-43742 has been observed to inhibit RORγt activity, is highly selective versus other ROR isotypes and may provide a treatment that could be administered as a once-daily oral dose. The compound recently completed a phase II proof-of-concept multiple ascending dose trial in patients with moderate to severe psoriasis.
The acquisition also adds VTP-38543, a topical LXRβ (Liver X Receptor beta) selective agonist for the potential treatment of atopic dermatitis. It is believed that VTP-38543 works by decreasing inflammation in damaged skin tissue and repairing the damaged outer layer of skin. VTP-38543 is currently in a phase IIa proof-of-concept clinical trial assessing the safety, tolerability and efficacy in patients with mild to moderate atopic dermatitis.
Vitae has developed and utilizes its Contour structure-based drug design platform to discover product candidates for validated therapeutic targets where biopharmaceutical research and development has traditionally struggled to develop drugs due to challenges related to potency, selectivity and pharmacokinetics. This has provided Vitae's R&D team the ability to create first-in-class product candidates for challenging therapeutic targets.
"The acquisition of Vitae is a strategic investment for Allergan that adds strength and depth to our innovative medical dermatology franchise," said Brent Saunders, CEO and president of Allergan. "Vitae has pioneered the discovery and development of highly differentiated first-in-class compounds in atopic dermatitis, psoriasis and autoimmune diseases, areas of medicine where innovation is needed for patients."
"Both the VTP-43742 and VTP-38543 programs offer the potential for highly differentiated mechanisms of action for the treatment of dermatologic conditions where patients are underserved by currently approved treatments," said David Nicholson, chief research & development officer, Allergan. "In addition, Vitae's novel Contour drug discovery platform and its team, which have been instrumental in the discovery of novel 'difficult to drug' compounds, will be highly complementary to Allergan's existing R&D discovery efforts in key therapeutic areas."
Pending approvals, Allergan anticipates closing the transaction by the end of 2016.