iNtRon shares climb over 7% on deal with Roivant
[THE INVESTOR] Korea’s iNtRon Biotechnology said on Nov. 20 it has clinched a deal with Switzerland-based Roivant Sciences to out-license SAL200, an investigational biologic for the treatment of infectious diseases caused by antibiotic-resistant staphylococci, driving up its share price.
Following announcement of the deal, worth US$667.5 million inclusive of milestone payments, with royalties on net sales in the low double digits, iNtRon shares rose 7.35 percent as of 11 a.m.
Under the agreement signed in New York, the Korean firm will receive an upfront payment upon execution of the agreement and subsequent milestone payments for development, regulatory and sales-driven events. Roivant plans to initiate phase 2 clinical trials of SAL200 in 2019.
The therapy, which contains bacteriophage-derived endolysin as its active pharmaceutical ingredient, may represent a potential breakthrough in addressing the problem of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections due to its novel mode of action.
Roivant Sciences, a Swiss-based company for biotech startups backed by SoftBank’s fund, said it has created a dedicated subsidiary to pursue the global development and commercialization of endolysin products from iNtRON Bio.
This contract also provides Roivant with the option to license iNtRON Bio’s non-clinical stage, anti-Gram-positive endolysin programs -- including anti-VRE and anti-TB biologics -- for an additional consideration of up to US$45 million each. Roivant also has the first rights of offer for iNtRON Bio’s anti-Gram-negative platform.
“This partnership between iNtRON Bio and Roivant combines our industry-leading endolysin platform with our track record in operational excellence,” said iNtRon Bio CEO Yoon Kyung-won.
Founded in 1999, iNtRON Bio is a KOSDAQ-listed firm focused on the development of bacteriophage and endolysin-based novel anti-bacterials for the treatment of serious and life-threatening infections caused by multidrug-resistant bacteria.
iNtRON Bio is Roivant Sciences’ second official partner in Korea following its US$502.5 million licensing deal with HanAll Biopharma for HL161BKN, a drug candidate that blocks pathogenic antibody recycling that causes autoimmune diseases in December last year.
By Park Han-na (firstname.lastname@example.org)