Pfizer, Roivant team up for new inflammatory-focused Vant—and no, they're not calling it Pfvant

Prolific biotech maker Roivant and Pfizer have partnered to launch a new inflammatory- and fibrotic-diseases-focused company.

We checked, and Roivant is not ready to publicly name the new venture, but we at Fierce have a suggestion that rolls off the tongue: Pfvant.

The as-yet unnamed venture will take over a phase 2b ulcerative colitis (UC) med from Pfizer’s vast pipeline called PF-06480605, which will be renamed RVT-3101. The therapy targets TL1A, a pathway believed to modulate the location and severity of inflammation and fibrosis. The hope is that RVT-3101 will become a more effective treatment option for UC patients by targeting multiple inflammatory and fibrosis pathways.

RVT-3101 is currently in a phase 2 trial called TUSCANY-2 that features 245 patients with moderate to severe UC. This is a crowded indication—but one Pfizer has plenty of experience in thanks to blockbuster Xeljanz.

The pharma giant also has two other promising meds for the disease in its pipeline, including etrasimod, which was acquired in the $6.7 billion takeover of Arena Pharmaceuticals. The therapy has racked up win after win in phase 3 since coming under Pfizer’s wing, showing durable clinical remission. The second prospect is ritlecitinib, which Pfizer has submitted to the FDA first for alopecia areata with plans to follow up in vitiligo, rheumatoid arthritis, UC and Crohn’s disease.

Pfizer Chief Scientific Officer Mikael Dolsten, M.D., Ph.D., said RVT-3101 could stand out on the market as the first precision medicine option for inflammatory bowel disease. He added that the new Vant deal will allow Pfizer to speed development of other meds.

Roivant Chief Investment Officer Mayukh Sukhatme said the goal is to eventually develop the therapy in other inflammatory and fibrotic diseases.

No specific financial details were disclosed, but the new Vant will be responsible for global development of RVT-3101 in UC and the other diseases with rights in the U.S. and Japan. Pfizer has taken a 25% equity stake in the new venture and will hold commercial rights outside of the U.S. and Japan. The pharma will also have representation on the Vant’s board of directors.

The deal also includes an early-stage next-generation TL1A directed antibody that Pfizer recently moved into phase 1. The Vant will have the right to enter into a deal with Pfizer that includes global development rights with a 50/50 cost share and co-commercialization rights before phase 2, which is expected in 2025.

The new Vant is not the only business development move made by Pfizer today. The behemoth drugmaker also chipped in $35 million to oncology-focused Carrick Therapeutics. The cash will go toward development of the HR+ and HER2- breast cancer therapy samuraciclib.

Pfizer will aid the small biotech with global development and support a mid-stage trial for samuraciclib in combination with common breast cancer med fulvestrant.

The moves speak to Pfizer’s larger ambitions to spend some of the cash collected thanks to the BioNTech-partnered COVID-19 vaccine Comirnaty. Executives have been foreshadowing deal making plans in earnings calls this year. While a big M&A transaction has yet to materialize, these smaller, bite-sized investments suggest that the due diligence conversations could be wrapping up with announcements to come.