Horizon Pharma buys River Vision and its fast-tracked eye med for $145M

This deal comes a week after the biotech posted new phase 2 data for the candidate.

Just seven months after Horizon Pharma's $800 million Raptor rare disease buy, the Irish biotech is spending $145 million, plus biobucks, for River Vision and its inflammatory eye drug teprotumumab.

The buyout of River Vision, which was founded by Narrow River Management, centers on its asset teprotumumab (RV001), a fully human mAb inhibitor of insulin-like growth factor type 1 receptor, in tests for thyroid eye disease (TED), a rare autoimmune inflammatory disorder.

Horizon Pharma will stump up a cash payment of $145 million, plus potential future milestone bonuses; it hopes to gain that money back and then some, as it sees the drug, should it gain approval (and it already has an FDA fast-track tag), making $250 million-plus in the U.S. at peak.

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“This acquisition is an important step in our strategy of pursuing and acquiring development-stage medicines targeting rare diseases,” said Timothy Walbert, chairman, president and CEO at Horizon. “With no approved medicines to treat Thyroid Eye Disease, there is a significant unmet treatment need among the approximately 10,000 patients in the United States with moderate to severe disease and we look forward to beginning the pivotal study with teprotumumab in the second half of this year.”

The deal comes a week after The New England Journal of Medicine published phase 2 data for the med, looking at teprotumumab in patients with recent-onset, moderate-to-severe TED. 

The data showed that, in the intention-to-treat population, 29 of 42 patients who received teprotumumab (69%), as compared with 9 of 45 patients who received placebo (20%), had a response at week 24.

River Vision was founded by Narrow River Management for the sole purpose of developing teprotumumab, a phoenix from the flames asset, which was developed by Genmab and subsequently licensed from Roche in cancer, where it failed to make the grade.

This is the latest deal for Horizon, which last September spent $800 million on Raptor, gaining access to Procysbi (cysteamine bitartrate) for the orphan condition nephropathic (kidney) cystinosis, as well as Quinsair, which is licensed in Europe and Canada to help manage chronic pulmonary infections due to Pseudomonas aeruginosa in patients with cystic fibrosis.

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