Cytokinetics finds worldwide partner in Royalty Pharma for heart failure drug, snags up to $450M to extend runway

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Cytokinetics will have access to $150 million right away, providing a cash runway of at least two years. (CC0 from Pixabay)

After offloading China rights to a heart failure drug, Cytokinetics has found a partner in Royalty Pharma for the rest of the world. Royalty will pay up to $450 million for the chance to support the commercial launch of omecamtiv mecarbil.

The deal also includes future royalties on aficamten, which is in phase 3 development for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, according to a Friday release

Omecamtiv mecarbil was once the subject of a partnership between Cytokinetics and Amgen, but the biopharma bailed out in May 2021 after a 14-year partnership. The biotech has since been repositioning the drug, which is designed to target the contractile mechanisms of the heart and boost contraction, in more of a supporting role.

The drug cleared a phase 3 trial testing whether it could reduce heart failure events in patients with reduced ejection fraction and keep them out of the hospital. But Amgen had eyes on the secondary endpoint: extending patients’ lives, which was not met.

RELATED: Abandoned by Amgen, Cy­to­ki­net­ics lands $50M upfront deal for Chinese rights to heart failure prospect

Royalty will now provide up to $300 million to support the commercialization of omecamtiv mecarbil, should it receive approval. The funds will also go toward development of aficamten and other general corporate purposes. On top of that, Royalty has purchased 4.5% royalty rights on aficamten up to $1 billion and 3.5% beyond that. Cytokinetics will receive up to $150 million for that portion of the deal.

Cytokinetics will have access to $150 million right away, providing a cash runway of at least two years.

The companies have worked together before on omecamtiv mecarbil. Back in 2017, Royalty bought 4.5% royalty rights on the therapy in a deal valued at $100 million.

The latest tie-up comes a few weeks after Cytokinetics sold the Chinese rights to omecamtiv mecarbil to Ji Xing Pharmaceuticals for $50 million upfront. RTW Investments is providing an additional $20 million in a stock purchase to bring the total value to $70 million. 

Omecamtiv mecarbil was previously granted a fast-track designation by the FDA, while aficamten holds a breakthrough-therapy designation.