Innovent plucks Chinese rights to LG Chem's gout disease treatment in nearly $100M deal

Innovent is adding a new late-stage med to its pipeline, buying the Chinese rights to LG Chem’s phase 3 gout disease treatment for nearly $100 million.

The agreement, announced Thursday, gives Innovent exclusive Chinese rights to tigulixostat, a non-purine xanthine oxidase inhibitor that manages the buildup of uric acid in patients with gout. In return, the company is paying LG Chem $10 million upfront with $85.5 million in biobucks waiting in the wings. 

Tigulixostat lands in Innovent’s lap with the wind in its sails after beating out both placebo and Takeda’s Uloric in uric acid reductions during a phase 2 study. LG Chem launched a phase 3 trial this quarter with the expectation of recruiting 3,000 patients across the U.S., Europe and other countries. 

The approval potential of the med is particularly tantalizing to Innovent given that the prevalence of hyperuricemia in China could be as high as 13.3% of the population. Another study conducted by China’s CDC found that the prevalence among adults is 11.1%. The med slides into a portfolio that includes eight approved meds in China, primarily in oncology, but a relatively thin slate of metabolic treatments. 

As for LG Chem, the rights handoff continues a string of deals after agreeing to buy Aveo Oncology and its approved kidney cancer drug in October for $566 million. The company noted that one of the benefits to partnering with Innovent was getting a foot in the door to the Chinese market.

LG Chem’s only approved med is Zemiglo, a Type 2 diabetes treatment greenlighted for use in Korea and Thailand. Beyond tigulixostat, the company is working on treatments for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, obesity and Type 1 diabetes.