Pfizer has agreed to acquire Swiss biotechnology firm Therachon for a total consideration of $810m to support its rare disease portfolio.
The deal involves an upfront payment of $340m and a further $470m when certain milestones are achieved in the development and commercialisation of TA-46.
This investigational, soluble recombinant human fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (FGFR3) decoy. It is intended to address the overactive FGFR3 signalling pathways related to bone development abnormalities in achondroplasia, a genetic type of dwarfism that can cause serious cardiovascular, neurological and metabolic complications. The condition currently lacks approved treatments.
TA-46 is being developed as a weekly subcutaneous injection to treat children and adolescents. The product has completed Phase I development and holds orphan drug designation from both the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Therachon’s pipeline also features apraglutide for rare gastrointestinal (GI) diseases, TA-46 LCM for skeletal dysplasias, and TA-100 FGFR3 Decoy for achondroplasia and other rare skeletal dysplasias.
Prior to the acquisition, Therachon will spin off the apraglutide development programme into a separate, independent company. Apraglutide is a once-weekly GLP-2 analogue currently in Phase II development for short bowel syndrome. Pfizer’s venture capital arm will continue to hold a stake in this new company.
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Pfizer’s rare disease research unit senior vice-president and chief scientific officer Seng Cheng said: “Through the acquisition of Therachon, we believe that we have a significant opportunity to transform the lives of young people with achondroplasia who courageously endure lifelong complications from short-limb dwarfism.
“Pfizer’s existing research programmes for paediatric growth disorders provide a complementary setting for this potential breakthrough therapy.”
Therachon expects Pfizer’s rare disease expertise and global footprint to drive TA-46’s development.