Actelion’s spin-off Idorsia is off to a great start with a large pipeline and full pockets. CEO Jean-Paul Clozel wants it to be a second Actelion.
This January, Actelion, the largest biotech in Europe, sealed the deal with Johnson & Johnson, which acquired the Swiss biotech for a massive €27.9Bn. “This deal is unique: J&J gets its sales, and there is no disruption to our projects. Not one person was laid off,” said Jean-Paul Clozel, CEO of Actelion, during a panel at Bio€quity this morning.
The agreement with J&J involved the creation of Idorsia, a spin-off led by Clozel that is keeping Actelion’s drug discovery and early clinical pipeline. “We have something like 20,000 patents and between 10 and 20 projects in the pipeline,” he confirmed. On top of that, the company also has €920M (CHF 1Bn) to start with, of which €530M (CHF 580M) come from a convertible loan from J&J.
“I really look forward to creating another Actelion with Idorsia,” said Clozel.
In fact, though Actelion’s acquisition hasn’t been completed yet, Idorsia is already reporting success in its pipeline. The first good news comes from ACT-132577, a candidate to treat resistant hypertension. Patients with this condition continue to show uncontrolled hypertension despite being treated with three different classes of antihypertensive drugs. Co-developed by J&J’s subsidiary Janssen Biotech, the candidate has just successfully completed Phase II and Idorsia is now discussing the design of a Phase III study with health authorities.
The company also has new results for cenerimod, a drug that blocks white blood cells from leaving lymphoid organs in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. The candidate has passed a Phase II safety study and is now ready to move into another Phase II trial to find the adequate dose to run a pivotal trial.
“The future for Idorsia is looking bright,” concluded Clozel in a statement this morning. “Realizing our ambition to develop Idorsia into one of Europe’s leading biopharmaceutical company, with a strong scientific core, certainly won’t be an easy undertaking but we have all the ingredients for success. We are starting on the right track with positive clinical results from two of the assets that will be developed by Idorsia, both progressing to the next stage of their development.”
Images via NZZ / Adrian Baer; Actelion