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Sobi takes ownership of rare disease drug Gamifant for $518m

Fulfils rare disease firm's global expansion plans

sSobi has bought up the intellectual property and patents on Gamifant, the rare disease drug it had previously licensed from Novimmune, plus a number of other valuable assets.

Gamifant (emapalumab) was developed by Swiss specialist pharma company Novimmune and gained FDA approval in November 2018.

The treatment is for children and adults with primary hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) with refractory, recurrent or progressive disease or intolerance to conventional HLH therapy.

Stockholm-based Sobi had acquired the global marketing rights to Gamifant from Novimmune in July 2018, but has now splashed out CHF 515m (SEK 4,897m, $518m) to acquire the outstanding IP on the drug.

The company predicted last year that the drug could reach peak sales of $330m, and sees it as a key launchpad for its growth into a global rare disease company, helping it to expand in particular into the US market.

Sobi’s president and chief executive Guido Oelkers had promised new acquisitions to bolster the firm’s growth, which is being led by its haemophilia treatments, Elocta and Alprolix.

Gamifant is also a major part of Sobi’s growth plans, and it says the buyout of Novimmune means it will cancel out CHF 400m from the previously agreed marketing rights deal.

“The acquisition of emapalumab and related assets is an important step in the transformation of Sobi in becoming a global leader in rare diseases,” says Guido Oelkers. “This will allow us to realise the full potential of emapalumab as an important treatment in the area of Immunology and address a significant unmet medical need.

“Immunology is one of our key focus areas where we can make a significant difference to patients’ lives. We look forward to welcoming our new colleagues to join us in this mission and create an even stronger Sobi.”

As well as buying all IP, patent rights, data and know-how for emapalumab, Sobi is also acquiring the Novoimmune team involved in its clinical and biopharmaceutical development.

It is also acquiring options for the shared financial rights to NI-1701 and NI-1801, two product candidates in the field of immuno-oncology.

Finally, the deal also involves the much coveted priority review voucher for use with the FDA. This gives companies investing in orphan drugs a cost reduction for the application fee for future products and shortens the review period, and can be used or sold on to other companies.

Novimmune submitted emapalumab to the European Medicines Agency in November last year, with a decision from the CHMP committee expected this year.

Article by
Andrew McConaghie

20th June 2019

From: Marketing

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