UNION therapeutics announces acquisition of PDE4i compound class from LEO Pharma with oral lead candidate (orismilast) in Phase 2
- Candidates in the LEO PDE4 inhibitor compound series have demonstrated potential to become ‘best-in-class’ based on Phase 2 studies in psoriasis (oral) and atopic dermatitis (topical)
- PDE4 compound series strengthens UNION’s pipeline and offers potential synergies at organizational, financial and commercial levels
Hellerup, Denmark, July 21, 2020 – UNION therapeutics A/S (“UNION”) today announced the completion of a transaction with LEO Pharma A/S (LEO Pharma) to acquire the global rights for the LEO PDE4 inhibitor compound series to be re-named UNI500.
UNI500 is a series of phosphodiesterase type 4 (PDE4) inhibitors that were discovered by LEO Pharma. LEO Pharma has been developing candidates from this series from discovery into Phase 2 in psoriasis (orismilast, oral) and atopic dermatitis (orismilast, topical) and in both indications demonstrated superior effect over placebo in randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical studies.
“The acquisition of the PDE4 inhibitor compound series is perfectly aligned with UNION’s vision to build a sustainable pharmaceutical company and it complements our current clinical activities in immuno-dermatology. The acquisition substantially accelerates our growth trajectory and enables synergies at organizational, financial, and commercial levels. Above and beyond that, UNION considers compounds from the PDE4 inhibitor compound series to have best-in-class potential for the treatment of psoriasis and other immune-dermatological disorders, with an overarching aim to address unmet medical needs”, said Rasmus Toft-Kehler, Chief Executive Officer of UNION.
Morten Sommer, Chief Scientific Officer, of UNION explains “Orismilast has demonstrated promising effects in clinical studies suggesting that it could become an attractive oral treatment option for patients with psoriasis and other immune-dermatological disorders. Our ambition, based on demonstrated potency levels, is to develop orismilast as a best-in-class PDE4 inhibitor across multiple immune-related diseases. As a next step, UNION will finalize formulation efforts with orismilast and simultaneously evaluate priority indications for clinical advancement”.
Thorsten Thormann, Vice President, Global Research at LEO Pharma added “LEO Pharma has been working very closely with the UNION team and have been impressed with their approach and professionalism in dermatological drug development. Accordingly, when the strategic decision was taken to divest the LEO PDE4 inhibitor compound series and orismilast, UNION was an obvious partner of choice for LEO Pharma. We look forward to seeing the program moving forward for the benefit of patients in need of new treatment options”.
Under the agreement, UNION will pay upfront, development and commercial milestones of up to 200 million USD, plus low single-digit royalties on sales. As part of the transaction, LEO Pharma also becomes a minority shareholder in UNION therapeutics.
About UNION therapeutics A/S
UNION therapeutics A/S is a privately held, clinical stage, pharmaceutical company dedicated to the development of novel treatments for inflammatory and infectious diseases. The company is working on two complementary chemistry classes spanning immunology and microbiology and has three candidates in clinical development. UNION is headquartered in Hellerup (Denmark) and managed by an experienced team across Europe and USA.
About LEO Pharma A/S
The company is a leader in medical dermatology with a robust R&D pipeline, a wide range of therapies and a pioneering spirit. Founded in 1908 and owned by the LEO Foundation, LEO Pharma has devoted decades of research and development to advance the science of dermatology, setting new standards of care for people with skin conditions. LEO Pharma is headquartered in Denmark with a global team of 6,000 people, serving 92 million patients in 130 countries.
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