Amgen will acquire rare disease drug developer ChemoCentryx for $52 per share in cash, making the deal worth approximately $3.7 billion.
“The acquisition of ChemoCentryx represents a compelling opportunity for Amgen to add to our decades-long leadership in inflammation and nephrology with TAVNEOS, a transformative, first-in-class treatment for ANCA-associated vasculitis,” said Robert A. Bradway, chairman and chief executive officer at Amgen.
US sales of TAVNEOS were $5.4 million in its first full quarter of sales this year. The drug is also approved in the European Union and Japan. Vifor Fresenius Medical Care Renal Pharma Ltd. will retain exclusive rights to commercialize TAVNEOS outside the US, except in Japan Otsuka Canada where Kissei Pharmaceutical holds commercialization rights and Canada where Pharmaceutical holds commercialization rights.
In addition to TAVNEOS, ChemoCentryx has three early-stage drug candidates that target chemoattractant receptors in other inflammatory diseases. They are Avacopan for C3 glomerulopathy and hidradenitis suppurativa, CCX507/CCR9 for inflammatory bowel disease, and CCX587/CCR6 for TH driven disease of the skin. They also have an oral checkpoint inhibitor (CCX559) for cancer.
“Last year, after 25 years of proud history, we at CCXI delivered on our founding promise with the approval of TAVNEOS for patients with anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibody-associated vasculitis (ANCA-associated vasculitis),” said Thomas J. Schall, PhD , president and chief executive officer of ChemoCentryx. “It is an honor to now join Amgen’s great mission, and together begin a bright new era bringing landscape-shaping medicines like TAVNEOS to those who will benefit most.”
TAVNEOS is an orally administered selective complement component 5a receptor inhibitor. It was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in October 2021 as an adjunctive treatment for adult patients with severe active ANCA-associated vasculitis, specifically granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) and microscopic polyangiitis (MPA) (the two main forms of ANCA-associated vasculitis), in combination with standard therapy.
“We are excited to join in the TAVNEOS launch and help many more patients with this serious and sometimes life-threatening disease for which there remains significant unmet medical need. We also look forward to welcoming the highly skilled team from ChemoCentryx that shares our passion for serving patients suffering from serious diseases,” said Bradway.
Investment in rare disease drug development has continued to increase over the past couple of years, despite the pandemic and economic downturn.
ANCA associated vasculitis is a rare, severe, and often fatal autoimmune disease that can affect many organ systems, including the lungs and kidneys, and is caused by anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies. There are approximately 40,000 people in the US with this condition, and about 4,000 new cases each year. It’s estimated that about 75,000 people in Europe have it, with 7,500 new cases a year.
Amgen has a strong portfolio and pipeline in both inflammation and nephrology. The company’s inflammation portfolio includes Otezla, ENBREL, TEZSPIRE, AMGEVITA (a biosimilar to HUMIRA), RIABNI (a biosimilar to Rituxan), and AVSOLA (a biosimilar to REMICADE).
The company’s pipeline includes four innovative Phase II inflammation medicines—efavaleukin alpha for systemic lupus erythematosus and ulcerative colitis, ordesekimab for celiac disease, rocatinlimab for atopic dermatitis and rozibafusap alfa for systemic lupus erythematosus—as well as ABP 654, a biosimilar to STELARA that is in Phase III development. Amgen’s nephrology portfolio includes EPOGEN, Aranesp, Parsabiv, and Sensipar.
The acquisition has been unanimously approved by each company’s board of directors, but is subject to ChemoCentryx stockholder approval, regulatory approvals, and other customary closing conditions. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2022.