Amag buyers bet big on reversal agent


Covis Pharma is owned by private equity and, if past deals are anything to go by, run by executives more focused on cash flows than R&D. Thus the acquisition of Amag seems something of a departure, considering that the main draw is a project that still requires substantial development. Ciraparantag is a reversal agent believed to be active against heparin as well as the novel, oral anticoagulants Pradaxa, Eliquis, Xarelto and Savaysa. There is a need here: Andexxa, now owned by Alexion after its $1.4bn Portola takeover, is approved against Eliquis and Xarelto, but carries black box warnings; Boehringer Ingelheim’s Praxbind only reverses that company’s Pradaxa. As a small molecule ciraparantag could offer a more convenient, safer and faster-acting option, Amag argued – although this still needs to be proven in phase III. Step forward Covis, which this week agreed to pay almost $500m for Amag, net of debt. Perhaps the hope is that Daiichi Sankyo, which sells Savaysa, will step in as a development partner; the Japanese group previously co-sponsored an earlier trial. The sellside estimates launch in 2023 and sales of $10m by 2026, according to EvaluatePharma. Covis is surely hoping for much more.

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