Idorsia has spun out of Actelion after Johnson & Johnson wrapped up its $30 billion takeover of the Swiss biotech. The new company starts life with $1 billion in cash, multiple clinical-phase drugs and a deal with J&J, strengths that prompted traders to drive up its share price by 30% in its first hours on the Swiss stock exchange.
Shares in Idorsia began trading at CHF 10 ($10) a piece but quickly soared higher. The stock settled around the CHF 13 mark a few hours after the market opened. That jump was foreseeable. Talking to Reuters, an anonymous trader said the initial CHF 10 “reflects the company's cash and actually is rather cheap.”
Allschwil, Switzerland-based Idorsia’s $1 billion starting cash position is one of several eye-catching characteristics of the biotech. Unlike almost all newly minted biotechs, Idorsia also has multiple drugs in the clinic, one of which could net it a $230 million fee if J&J opts in.
The J&J agreement covers dual endothelin receptor antagonist ACT-132577, one of four phase 2 assets in Idorsia’s pipeline. Actelion posted data from a phase 2 trial of ACT-132577 last month. The readout linked the experimental therapy to statistically significant reductions in mean diastolic and systolic blood pressure.
J&J can pay $230 million and commit to royalties that range from 20% to 35% to opt-in. The 30-day opt-in countdown will start once Idorsia has shared the data with J&J and held an end-of-phase 2 meeting with the FDA. Idorisa plans to run a phase 3 trial in patients with resistant hypertension.
ACT-132577 is one of a clutch of Idorsia assets edging toward phase 3. Idorsia is a phase 2 dose-finding study away from having the data it needs to move cenerimod into a pivotal trial. Insomnia asset ACT-541468 is set to deliver the phase 2 data Idorsia needs to move it into phase 3 later this year. And regulatory talks in preparation for a phase 3 trial of Fabry disease hopeful lucerastat are taking place. Idorsia plans to start a phase 3 trial of lucerastat next year.
Investigators are also testing cerebral vasospasm treatment clazosentan in a phase 2 trial.
Further back in the pipeline, Idorsia is set on four phase 1 assets, although the long-term status of these programs is unclear
“We will be taking decisions on our phase 1 pipeline assets before the end of the year,” Idorsia CEO Jean-Paul Clozel said in a statement.
Clozel is one of several key executives who have moved from Actelion to Idorsia. The CEO is joined at the biotech by Guy Braunstein, who has taken the role of head of global clinical development.