Takeda bails out Ovid

Failure in Angelman syndrome had laid Ovid low, but today the group got a reprieve thanks to a deal amendment with Takeda that brought an up-front fee of $196m – more than the value of Ovid’s market cap last night. The tie-up assigns rights to Ovid’s pipeline lead, soticlestat, to the Japanese group, which now plans to start phase III trials in Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndromes. The compound, a CH24H inhibitor, had been discovered at Takeda’s labs under a separate 2017 tie-up between the two companies. But this is now being dissolved, with Ovid relinquishing rights in return for the much-needed cash bailout, plus future milestones and royalties. Soticlestat’s phase II Elektra trial in the two childhood epilepsies read out positively last year, driven by a strong result in Dravet syndrome. At the time Ovid was leading development, and had a small milestone obligation to Takeda, but the junior partner’s $87m third-quarter cash balance was likely insufficient to fund soticlestat to approval. The Angleman failure cut Ovid’s options further, and the group had little choice but to accept Takeda’s lifeline today. Last month Jazz bought another Dravet/Lennox-Gastaut player, GW, for $7.2bn, and this might have focused Takeda’s mind.

Selected childhood epilepsy projects
Project Company Mechanism of action Dravet Lennox-Gastaut
Epidiolex Jazz (ex GW) Cannabinoid Marketed Marketed
Fintepla Zogenix SSRI & Sigma-1 receptor regulator Marketed Ph3
Belviq Eisai 5-HT2C receptor agonist Ph3 NA
Soticlestat Takeda/Ovid Cholesterol 24-hydroxylase inhibitor Ph2 Ph2
Translarna PTC Therapeutics 30S ribosomal subunit blocker Ph2 NA
STK-001 Stoke Therapeutics SCN1a mRNA antisense Ph2 NA
EPX-100 Epygenix Therapeutics 5-HT receptor agonist Ph2 NA
Cannabidiol & tetrahydrocannabinol Tilray Cannabinoid Ph1 NA
Carisbamate SK Biopharmaceuticals Unknown NA Ph1
Source: EvaluatePharma.

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