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Ionis licenses to Akcea global rights to inotersen in $1.7bn deal

PBR Staff Writer Published 16 March 2018

Ionis Pharmaceuticals has licensed to Akcea Therapeutics worldwide rights to inotersen and AKCEA-TTR-LRx, formerly IONIS-TTR-LRx, in a transaction potentially worth about $1.7bn.

Akcea, which is an affiliate of Ionis, is a biopharmaceutical company engaged in the development and commercialization of drugs to treat patients with serious rare diseases.

Inotersen is an antisense drug designed to lower the production of transthyretin, or TTR protein, for the treatment of TTR amyloidosis (ATTR) disease.

Currently, Inotersen is under regulatory review for marketing authorization in the US and European Union (EU).

The companies have signed an agreement, under which Akcea will pay Ionis $150m for global rights to commercialize inotersen and AKCEA-TTR-LRx.

Ionis is purchasing $200m in Akcea shares, increasing its stake in the company from 68% to 75% as the money stays in the family.

Approvals in the US and EU will trigger payments of $50m and $40m to Ionis.

Commercial profits and losses from inotersen will be divided 60% to Ionis and 40% to Akcea until the initialcommercial sales of AKCEA-TTR-LRx, following which the profits and losses will be shared equally.

The costs of the development of AKCEA-TTR-LRx and the profits from its commercialization will be shared equally. The license for the two drugs also includes several sales milestone payments of about $1.3bn.

Ionis CEO and chairman Stanley Crooke said: "Our partnering discussions resulted in a number of options and we decided this partnership with Akcea will maximize the commercial value of inotersen and our TTR franchise.

“The potential to add commercial revenue from both inotersen and volanesorsen to our growing Spinraza royalties helps us achieve our goal of being a multiproduct, profitable company."

Akcea Therapeutics CEO Paula Soteropoulos said: "Adding two potentially life-changing therapies, inotersen and AKCEA-TTR-LRx, expands our pipeline of drugs to treat people with serious and under-served rare diseases.”

As part of the collaboration, Ionis chief business officer Sarah Boyce will join Akcea as president and board member.

Image: Exterior view of Ionis Pharmaceuticals building. Photo: courtesy of Ionis Pharmaceuticals.