Midstage Vitae drug flops in PhII, leaving Allergan’s $640M buyout in question

Allergan ($AGN) took an R&D hit this quarter as it emerged from analysts that a Phase II test of dermatology med VTP-38543, acquired as part of a $640 million buyout deal of Vitae in September, has failed.

The med, a topical LXRβ (liver X receptor beta) selective agonist aimed at treating atopic dermatitis, “failed to show a positive signal in proof of concept,” according to analysts from Leerink and Evercore ISI.

The drug was one of the two leading meds in Vitae’s pipeline, the other being the midstage psoriasis med VTP-43742, and leads to questions over its purchase--coming as it also noted in its Q3 that it was to buy back $10 billion in an accelerated share repurchase program.

Leerink put the med’s failure in the “Things we didn’t like about this quarter” for the acquisitive Allergan.

The deal to buy Vitae, one of many in recent months, was worth $21 a share and became a major premium on the $8 a share it was trading on the day before the acquisition was announced, when it had a market cap of $238 million.