Pfizer secures exclusive option to acquire gene therapy company Vivet Therapeutics

PfizerPARIS & Vivet Therapeutics ("Vivet"), a privately held gene therapy biotech company dedicated to developing gene therapy treatments for inherited liver disorders with high unmet medical need, and Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) announced that Pfizer has acquired a 15% equity interest in Vivet and secured an exclusive option to acquire all outstanding shares. Pfizer and Vivet will collaborate on the development of VTX-801, Vivet's proprietary treatment for Wilson disease.

Wilson disease is a devastating, rare, chronic, and potentially life-threatening liver disorder of impaired copper transport that causes serious copper poisoning. In patients with Wilson disease, a monogenetic mutation disables the normal copper biliary excretion pathway leading to excess copper accumulation in the liver and other organs including the central nervous system. Untreated, Wilson disease results in various combinations and severity of hepatic (fibrosis and cirrhosis), neurologic and psychiatric symptoms, which can be fatal and that can only be cured by liver transplantation. Existing therapies for Wilson disease have sub-optimal efficacy or significant side effects for many patients.

Jean-Phillippe Combal, Co-Founder & CEO of Vivet, said, "We welcome Pfizer as a shareholder and partner that can help us advance our efforts to develop therapies for patients burdened with inherited liver disorders. This investment demonstrates the clear value of Vivet’s innovative approaches to gene therapy."

Mikael Dolsten, Pfizer Chief Scientific Officer and President, Worldwide Research, Development, and Medical, said, "Pfizer strives to provide meaningful enhancements to the lives of patients with rare diseases. Our partnership with Vivet offers an important expansion of Pfizer’s commitment to collaborate with the scientific community and to accelerate our leading AAV-directed gene therapy portfolio."

Bringing together Pfizer's and Vivet's expertise in liver-directed AAV gene therapy for metabolic diseases creates an opportunity to develop a breakthrough medicine that can meaningfully improve the lives of patients with Wilson disease. "VTX-801 could provide a potentially transformative therapeutic option for patients with Wilson disease by directly addressing the underlying cause of the disease - the inability to excrete copper owing to a mutation in the gene that codes for that function," said Seng Cheng, Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of Pfizer’s Rare Disease Research Unit.

Under the terms of the transaction, Pfizer paid approximately €45 million (US$51 million) upon signing and may pay up to €560 million (US$635.8 million) inclusive of the option exercise payment and subject to certain clinical, regulatory, and commercial milestones. Pfizer can exercise its option to acquire 100% of Vivet following the company's delivery of certain data from the Phase I/II clinical trial for VTX-801. As part of the transaction, Pfizer senior executive Monika Vnuk, M.D., Vice President, Worldwide Business Development, will join Vivet's Board of Directors. Other terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Vivet Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer Gloria Gonzalez-Aseguinolaza said, "The potential of VTX-801 has already been demonstrated in preclinical models and our partnership with Pfizer will help accelerate development of VTX-801 and expand our other innovative technologies."

In addition to its Wilson disease program, Vivet is also advancing liver-directed gene therapy programs for progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis (PFIC) for bile excretion defects and citrullinemia for defects in the urea cycle, which leads to the buildup of ammonia and other toxic substances in the blood.

About Vivet Therapeutics

Vivet Therapeutics is an emerging biotechnology company developing novel gene therapy treatments for rare, inherited metabolic diseases.

Vivet is building a diversified gene therapy pipeline based on novel adeno-associated virus (AAV) technologies developed through its partnerships with, and exclusive licenses from, the Fundación para la Investigación Médica Aplicada (FIMA), a not-for-profit foundation at the Centro de Investigación Medica Aplicada (CIMA), University of Navarra based in Pamplona, Spain.

Vivet's lead program, VTX-801, is a novel investigational gene therapy for Wilson disease which has been granted Orphan Drug Designation (ODD) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Commission (EC). This rare genetic disorder is caused by mutations in the gene encoding the ATP7B protein, which reduces the ability of the liver and other tissues to regulate copper levels causing severe hepatic damage, neurologic symptoms and potentially death.

Vivet is supported by international life science investors including Novartis Venture Fund, Roche Venture Fund, HealthCap, Columbus Venture Partners, Ysios Capital, Kurma Partners and Idinvest Partners.

Pfizer Inc.: Working together for a healthier world®

At Pfizer, we apply science and our global resources to bring therapies to people that extend and significantly improve their lives. We strive to set the standard for quality, safety and value in the discovery, development and manufacture of health care products. Our global portfolio includes medicines and vaccines as well as many of the world's best-known consumer health care products. Every day, Pfizer colleagues work across developed and emerging markets to advance wellness, prevention, treatments and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time. Consistent with our responsibility as one of the world's premier innovative biopharmaceutical companies, we collaborate with health care providers, governments and local communities to support and expand access to reliable, affordable health care around the world. For more than 150 years, we have worked to make a difference for all who rely on us.

Most Popular Now

AstraZeneca divests rights for Losec to Cheplaphar…

AstraZeneca has agreed to sell the global commercial rights, excluding China, Japan, the US and Mexico, for Losec (omeprazole) and associated brands to Cheplapharm Arznei...

Bayer, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Massachus…

Bayer and Partners HealthCare's founding members Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) today announced the launch of a joint lab to ...

Amgen announces positive results from two Phase 3 …

Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) today announced that the results of a prespecified interim analysis of an open-label, randomized, controlled global multicenter Phase 3 trial (2012021...

Cause of antibiotic resistance identified

Scientists have confirmed for the first time that bacteria can change form to avoid being detected by antibiotics in the human body. Studying samples from elderly patient...

Brilinta monotherapy in high-bleeding risk patient…

New data from TWILIGHT, a Phase IV independent trial (funded by AstraZeneca), showed that in patients at high-bleeding risk who underwent PCI and completed 3 months of du...

Novartis and Microsoft announce collaboration to t…

Novartis announced an important step in reimagining medicine by founding the Novartis AI innovation lab and by selecting Microsoft as its strategic AI and data-science pa...

Bayer inks deals with eleven startups under G4A Di…

Bayer announced today that the company has signed collaboration agreements with eleven digital health startups. As part of the program, Bayer will support these startup c...

Pharmacists provide patient value in team-based ca…

With inhaler in hand, Dr. Cheng Yuet went over every detail to make sure the patient understood how the drug would control their COPD symptoms. Dr. Yuet is proving what a...

Ian Read to retire as Executive Chairman of Pfizer…

Following its regularly scheduled meeting, the Board of Directors of Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) today announced that Executive Chairman of the Board Ian C. Read has chosen to...

AI and big data predict which research will influe…

An artificial intelligence/machine learning model to predict which scientific advances are likely to eventually translate to the clinic has been developed by Ian Hutchins...

Discovery of new source of cancer antigens may exp…

For more than a decade, scientist Stephen Albert Johnston and his team at Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute have pooled their energies into an often scoffed-...

Chinese activists protest the use of traditional t…

In the West, the number of people challenging scientific authority has been growing in past decades. This has, among other things, led to a decline in the support for mas...