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Allergan to acquire yet another GI drugmaker, Modus Health

October 31, 2016
Life sciences

Continuing its energetic acquisition path of late, Ireland-incorporated Allergan (NYSE: AGN) says it has exercised its option to acquire Motus Therapeutics, formerly known as Rhythm Health, from Rhythm Holding Company, its current owner.

Allergan will pay the exercise price of $200 million at closing to Rhythm Holding. In addition, Rhythm Holding will be eligible for a contingent payment upon first commercial sale of relamorelin. Allergan previously made $47 million in payments related to the option-to-acquire Motus and the relamorelin Phase IIb clinical trial. Completion of Allergan’s acquisition of Motus Therapeutics is expected to occur by the end of 2016 subject to customary closing conditions.

This latest deal is a clear demonstration of Allergan’s commitment to growing in the GU space. In the past five weeks, the group has spent nearly $2 billion on Akarna (focused on developing novel small molecule therapeutics that target inflammatory and fibrotic diseases and Tobira (a developer of therapies for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and other liver diseases) and now Motus. This is also Botox-maker Allergan’s eighth acquisition this year.

Top-line results from relamorelin study

At the same time, Allergan and Rhythm announced on Friday the top line results of a Phase IIb clinical trial assessing the efficacy and safety of relamorelin (RM-131), Motus’ ghrelin agonist, for the treatment of gastroparesis in patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

In the Phase IIb study, relamorelin administered for 12 weeks demonstrated substantial efficacy for the key diabetic gastroparesis symptoms of nausea, post-prandial fullness, abdominal pain and bloating (measured both individually and as a composite endpoint), along with a potent prokinetic effect on gastric motility. Patients receiving relamorelin also experienced an approximately 75% reduction in vomiting frequency across all doses compared to baseline (the primary endpoint), similar to the effect seen in the Phase IIa trial. However, an unusually high placebo response for vomiting frequency, extending well beyond that expected from previous studies, limited the ability to demonstrate treatment efficacy on the vomiting frequency endpoint.

“The clinical results with relamorelin in this Phase IIb trial in diabetic gastroparesis are very encouraging. Based on these results and the results observed in the earlier Phase IIa trial, Allergan has exercised its option to acquire Motus Therapeutics and intends to initiate Phase III clinical trials of relamorelin,” said David Nicholson, executive vice president of global R&D for Allergan, adding: “We very much look forward to sharing this phase IIb data with the US Food and Drug Administration and to discussing our plans to conduct Phase II trials.”

“There has not been a drug approved for gastroparesis by the FDA since 1983. Relamorelin may offer a much needed opportunity for patients with diabetic gastroparesis to have symptom relief and improved quality of life,” said Richard McCallum, of Texas Tech University, quoted by Allergan.” It is particularly impressive that relamorelin can be delivered through SC injections because these patients are not able to absorb medications once they start vomiting. Relamorelin may be a major advance in the armamentarium of physicians who manage diabetic gastroparesis,” Dr McCallum opined.

Source: The Pharma Letter

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