Incyte turns to in-licensing

Dealmaking felt like a more pressing need for Incyte in the wake of the approval of Opzelura by the FDA last week. The topical Jak inhibitor’s label was unexpectedly restrictive, likely limiting its sales, leaving the company in need of other growth drivers. Thus today's deal with Syndax Pharmaceuticals is timely. Incyte is paying $117m, plus a $35m equity investment, for worldwide commercial rights to axatilimab, Syndax’s anti-CSF-1R monoclonal antibody. Under the terms the two groups have a fifty-fifty profit share in the US, with Syndax getting double-digit royalties on sales outside the country. Axatilimab is currently in a pivotal phase 2 trial, Agave-201, for chronic graft-versus-host disease, with combination trials with a Jak inhibitor planned. The partners also intend to expand its use into idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), with Syndax funding initial work here and Incyte able to opt in to co-funding late-stage development. This is the second GVHD deal this month, following the $1.9bn acquisition of Kadmon by Sanofi. That deal was largely about Kadmon’s approved graft-versus-host medicine, Rezurock, which has completed a phase 2 trial in IPF. Since then, though, development in fibrosis seems to have lapsed. 

*Forecasts predate Sanofi's acquisition of Kadmon, Rezurock's originator, and therefore come from analysts covering Kadmon rather than Sanofi.  

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