Biogen has paid $120 million upfront for Remedy Pharmaceuticals’ phase 3 stroke asset Cirara. The deal sees Biogen add a late-phase treatment for large hemispheric infarction (LHI) to its pipeline in return for the upfront fee and undisclosed milestones and royalties.
New York City-based Remedy will continue to contribute to the cost of developing Cirara in LHI, a form of ischemic stroke characterised by swelling of the brain. This swelling, also known as cerebral edema, arises when cellular dysfunction poststroke allows fluids to cross the blood brain barrier. The swelling caused by this process contributes to poor outcomes in stroke patients, making the pathway that underpins it a target of interest for drug developers.
Remedy’s answer to the problem is glyburide, a decades old antidiabetic drug that inhibits ATP-sensitive potassium channels and the sulfonylurea receptor 1 (SUR1). The bet on glyburide is underpinned by a belief it can prevent the development of edemas by blocking SUR1-transient receptor potential melastatin-4 (TRPM4), nonselective cation channels that are upregulated after ischemia.
That belief in glyburide has been tested by clinical data. A phase 2 trial of Cirara missed its primary endpoint after the drug failed to reduce incidence of decompressive craniectomy. But having come through an end-of-phase 2 meeting with the FDA last year, Remedy decided to push ahead into a late-stage trial. And in Biogen it has found a company that shares its confidence in the data, or is at least willing to put down $120 million to learn whether it can crack a major underserved market.
“We believe the data supporting the potential of Cirara are compelling and that Cirara can be a first-in-class therapy that gives physicians the ability to meaningfully improve patient outcomes in an area where effective treatments have been few and far between,” Biogen EVP Michael Ehlers, M.D., Ph.D. said in a statement.
Ehlers framed the deal as adding to Biogen’s neuroscience activities and, more specifically, fleshing out its pitch to corner the the market for treatments for acute ischemic stroke. The candidate slots into Biogen’s pipeline just ahead of natalizumab, a monoclonal antibody the Big Biotech is testing in a phase 2b study.