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Ipsen and Skyhawk announce $1.8bn partnership to advance rare neurological disease therapies

Ipsen and Skyhawk announce $1.8bn partnership to advance rare neurological disease therapies

Ipsen and Skyhawk Therapeutics have announced an exclusive worldwide collaboration aimed at advancing RNA-targeting therapies for rare neurological diseases, with the deal worth more than $1.8bn. The partnership combines Ipsen’s capabilities in neuroscience with Skyhawk’s proprietary drug discovery platform, which “allows for the exploration of previously ‘undruggable’ RNA targets with small molecules”.

Ipsen will have the option to receive exclusive global rights to two candidates pursued under the collaboration and, following development candidate validation, the biopharma will be responsible for further development and commercialisation activities. In exchange, Skyhawk will be eligible to receive up to $1.8bn in development, regulatory and commercial milestones, including an upfront payment, as well as potential tiered royalties.

Steve Glyman, senior vice president and head of neuroscience, research and development at Ipsen, said: “We are delighted to join forces with the expert teams at Skyhawk as we explore the potential for modifying RNA expression across rare and debilitating neurological conditions.

“Our focus and expertise in movement disorders, and across our portfolio, is bringing… treatments to those with the highest unmet needs, now further fuelled by this novel platform…”

Skyhawk says its platform “integrates four distinct and complementary data sets in rapid-growing machine learning models” to accelerate the development of RNA-targeting small-molecule drug candidates across a range of targets.

Sergey Paushkin, Skyhawk’s chief scientific officer, said the company was “excited to partner with Ipsen to expand its pipeline of innovative therapies”. He continued: “Our strategic partnership underscores our shared ambition to develop transformative medicines for people with rare neurological diseases for which there are no approved therapeutics.”

The announcement comes just over three weeks after Ipsen said it had entered into an agreement worth up to $900m to gain exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialise Sutro Biopharma’s preclinical antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) targeting solid tumours.

Sutro’s STRO-003, which is the first ADC candidate to be added to Ipsen’s portfolio, targets a tumour antigen that is known to be overexpressed in many different cancer types, including solid tumours and haematological malignancies.

April 24, 2024

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