Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) is to acquire Therachon Holding AG, a Basel, Switzerland-based clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on rare diseases, with assets in development for the treatment of achondroplasia and short bowel syndrome (SBS), for up to $810m.
Under the terms of the deal, Pfizer will acquire Therachon for $340m upfront with an additional $470m in additional payments contingent on the achievement of key milestones in the development and commercialization of TA-46 for the treatment of achondroplasia, a genetic condition and the most common form of short-limbed dwarfism. Achondroplasia can result in serious cardiovascular, neurological and metabolic complications for approximately 250,000 people worldwide. There are currently no approved treatments for achondroplasia.
The acquisition complements Pfizer’s existing research portfolio in rare diseases. TA-46 is an investigational, soluble recombinant human fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (FGFR3) decoy, a mechanism of action that is believed to normalize the overactive FGFR3 signaling pathways that underlie bone development abnormalities associated with achondroplasia.
Led by Chief Executive Officer Luca Santarelli, Therachon is a clinical-stage global biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of innovative treatment for severe, rare conditions with significant unmet need. The company is currently developing TA-46 as a weekly subcutaneous injection for children and adolescents living with the condition.
TA-46 has completed Phase 1 and has received Orphan Drug Designation from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Prior to the closing of the transaction with Pfizer, Therachon will spin-off its apraglutide development program into a separate, independent company. Apraglutide is a once-weekly, potential best-in-class GLP-2 analog in Phase 2 development for short bowel syndrome. Pfizer Ventures, the venture capital arm of Pfizer Inc., currently holds a minority stake and will continue to hold an equity stake in the new company.