Lyra Therapeutics taps LianBio to bring sinusitis med to Asia

As Lyra Therapeutics shepherds its rhinosinusitis treatment through the clinic, it’s getting a little help from LianBio to push the program in China and other Asian markets.

Lyra picks up $12 million upfront in exchange for the exclusive license to develop and sell the drug, LYR-210, in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand. Though the upfront fee is modest, Lyra stands to receive up to $135 million down the line if LianBio meets certain development, regulatory and commercialization goals, the companies said in a statement. 

The companies are developing LYR-210 for chronic rhinosinusitis, a condition in which the sinuses become inflamed and swollen for 12 weeks or longer. Lyra CEO Maria Palasis, Ph.D., likened the condition to “having the worst cold of your life” every day, in a previous interview. 

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Treatment includes nasal irrigation and steroids delivered as nasal sprays, but these approaches don’t work well because they don’t reach the source of the problem: inflammation in the paranasal sinuses. Some patients go on to receive surgery, but this isn’t a cure, as it removes blockage in the nasal and sinus passages without tackling the root cause of the condition. 

Enter LYR-210, a miniaturized, bioresorbable device that is implanted deep in the nasal passages, where it delivers mometasone furoate, an anti-inflammatory steroid, for up to six months. It can be inserted during a routine visit, during which the doctor will numb the area and deliver the drug depot using a syringe-like instrument. When the six months are up, a doctor would remove the device and insert a new one. 

The treatment is designed to overcome multiple problems with current rhinosinusitus treatments, including lack of access to the sinuses, a quick turnover of mucus—which limits how long a drug can stay in the body—and poor patient compliance. Lyra has taken the treatment through phase 2 and plans to start a phase 3 trial “around the end of the year.” 

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Under the deal, LianBio will also get first dibs to develop and commercialize a second treatment, LYR-220, for the treatment of patients who have undergone surgery but still have persistent rhinosinusitis. 

LianBio uncloaked in August 2020 with the dual mission of bringing much-needed new drugs to China and helping U.S. biotechs expand their operations into Asia. It started out with three assets licensed from MyoKardia—now part of Bristol Myers Squibb—and BridgeBio Pharma and has since added programs from Pfizer, Landos Pharma and other companies. 

In May, the company brought in a new CEO, Yizhe Wang, Ph.D., who arrived after leading the team that brought Eli Lilly’s COVID-19 antibody, bamlanivimab, to an emergency FDA nod.