Incyte has agreed to acquire US-based Escient Pharmaceuticals and its assets, including two first-in-class small molecule antagonists targeting Mas-related G protein-coupled receptor X2 (MRGPRX2) for the treatment of various mast cell-mediated disorders.

The transaction, valued at $750m plus Escient’s net cash, is expected to close by the third quarter of 2024.

The deal closure is subject to regulatory approval.

This strategic move supports Incyte’s portfolio strategy. It also complements Incyte’s expanding research and development activities in the inflammation and autoimmunity segment.

EP262, a first-in-class oral MRGPRX2 antagonist, has shown promise in treating multiple mast cell-mediated diseases, including atopic dermatitis, chronic inducible urticaria and chronic spontaneous urticaria.

Furthermore, EP262’s safety profile was confirmed in a Phase I study involving 64 healthy volunteers.

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The study reported no severe adverse events, and the incidence of mild treatment-emergent adverse events was lower than placebo (33.3% versus 62.5%), even with no increase in dose.

A first-in-class oral MRGPRX4 antagonist, EP547 offers potential treatments for cholestatic pruritus and other severe pruritus conditions.

Incyte CEO Hervé Hoppenot said: “As a company dedicated to innovation and the discovery of transformative medicines, we are excited to add EP262 and EP547 to our portfolio. This acquisition builds on our strategy to develop differentiated and first-in-class medicines with high potential.

“EP262 and EP547 are complementary additions to our portfolio, providing an opportunity to leverage our expertise, address the needs of patients with inflammatory diseases and additional potential launch opportunities starting in 2029.”

Escient president and CEO Joshua A Grass said: “These drug candidates are the result of the highly innovative research performed by Escient’s employees and scientific collaborators.

“With its experienced development and commercial teams in inflammation and autoimmunity, and portfolio of commercial and development stage products, Incyte is well-positioned to translate this new science into valuable medicines for patients.”