AbbVie grabs a wrench to add immunology-focused Landos Biopharma for $137.5M

AbbVie has grabbed a wrench to add on some new autoimmune disease options to its pipeline via the acquisition of Landos Biopharma.

The deal values the oral-therapeutic-focused biotech at $137.5 million, with the terms offering $20.42 per share in cash upon closing. AbbVie is also offering a non-tradeable contingent value right at up to $11.14 per share, or an additional $75 million, subject to certain clinical milestones.

AbbVie’s business development team has been incredibly busy over the past few months, snapping up Cerevel Therapeutics in neuroscience and ImmunoGen in oncology for $8.7 billion and $10.1 billion, respectively. But that left immunology, where AbbVie has a major legacy thanks to Humira that just went off patent.

Executives previewed a plan to look for smaller companies after those major outlays, with President and Chief Operating Officer Robert Michael saying that the team would be on the lookout for some smaller deals with early-stage opportunities. Michael said during a fourth-quarter earnings call in February that “our focus in immunology in terms of BD is really looking for new mechanisms of action that can elevate standard of care, whether monotherapy or in combination. I'd say there's a lot of interest in combination.”

Landos will bring the phase 2 asset NX-13 to the mix, an oral NLRX1 agonist with a bimodal mechanism of action that acts as an anti-inflammatory by facilitating epithelial repair. The biotech is evaluating the treatment in the midstage NEXUS trial in patients with ulcerative colitis (UC). Top-line data are expected in the fourth quarter, according to Landos’ fourth-quarter earnings update issued last week. In addition, NX-13 is being prepped for a phase 2 test in Crohn's disease.

Also in the pipeline at Landos for the NLRX1 pathway is LABP-66 in multiple sclerosis and other neurodegenerative diseases, plus LAPB-73 in asthma and eosinophilic disorders. The company is studying the PLXDC2 pathway with the early-stage med LABP-69 in rheumatoid arthritis, UC and Crohn’s.

The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter.