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Organon buys Forendo in $1bn deal

Forendo purchase bolsters Organon’s pipeline with candidates in endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome

Organon

Just months after its separation from Merck, Organon has strengthened its women’s health pipeline with the purchase of Finnish clinical-stage company Forenda Pharma.

Its lead compound, FOR-6219 – a first-in-class oral 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (HSD17B1) inhibitor – is in early clinical development for endometriosis, a common, chronic condition that affects up to one in ten women of reproductive age that causes abdominal pain and is associated with infertility.

Once approved by regulatory bodies, the deal will see Organon pay $75m upfront and assume $9m of Forendo’s debt, then pay development and regulatory milestones of up to $270m. Add the commercial milestones payments on successful candidates of $600m and the deal could amount to $954m.

The transaction is expected to close in December 2021.

Forendo is pioneering the science of intracrinology or the study of the how hormones created within cells regulate their function. This is in contrast to endocrine hormones that bind to receptors on the outside of cells.

FOR-6219 is different from currently available treatments for endometriosis because of its potential ability to act locally in the target tissues without impacting systemic hormone levels.

FOR-6219 is entering phase 2 clinical development to evaluate its efficacy as a long-term treatment option for endometriosis. There are currently no long-term approved treatment options for endometriosis.

“Organon is dedicated to delivering medically significant women’s healthcare interventions, prioritising disease areas based on unmet needs. Endometriosis is among our highest priority areas of focus,” said Organon CEO, Kevin Ali. “Our acquisition of Forendo further demonstrates our commitment to building a pipeline of impactful treatment options for women with unmet medical needs.”

Forendo also has a preclinical programme targeting polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a common condition associated with metabolic disorders, hyperandrogenism and infertility, for which there are currently no approved therapies.

Organon was formed when Merck spun off its women’s health division in June this year. The name comes from the company it acquired as part of its 2009 deal to buy Schering-Plough.

Organon reported $1.6bn in sales in the third quarter of 2021, although its women’s health division saw a 10% drop in sales due to generic competition to Nuvaring (etonogestrel/ethinyl estradiol vaginal ring). Its biosimilars division saw a 41% increase in sales.

Article by
Hugh Gosling

12th November 2021

From: Research

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