Chin up: Allergan looks to fat-busting drug with $2.1bn Kythera deal

By Dan Stanton contact

- Last updated on GMT

Allergan will launch double chin injectable drug Kybella following $2.1bn acquisition
Allergan will launch double chin injectable drug Kybella following $2.1bn acquisition

Related tags: Pharmaceutical drug

Allergan is set to acquire Kythera Biopharmaceuticals for $2.1bn (€1.9bn) and add the recently approved injectable ‘double-chin’ drug Kybella to its facial aesthetics portfolio.

The 80% cash, 20% equity acquisition agreement is expected to go through in the third quarter 2015 and will “broaden [Allergan’s] leadership position in facial aesthetics”​ according to CEO Brent Saunders.

Kythera’s lead product Kybella (deoxycholic acid), an injectable cytolytic drug used to treat severe submental fullness (commonly referred to as double chin) was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in April​.  Saunders said the drug “is the perfect complement to our full line of facial aesthetics"​ established following the $70.5bn mega-merger between Actavis and Botox-maker Allergan in March​.

“We have a very strong and leading position in facial aesthetics... and with Kybella now in the fold we've really strengthened that position,”​ he continued, adding the facial aesthetics sector is a large and growing marketplace full of unmet opportunities.

“We believe with our expertise in launching and building markets in Allergan, our leadership position in facial aesthetics around the world, that we are the perfect team to work with Kythera to make sure that this product is launched and ultimately a big growth driver for the next 20 plus years.”

Fat-busting injection

Kybella is administered as an injection into the tissue in the submental area and, when properly administered, destroys fat cells.

It is the only product approved that addresses the submental region of the face, Saunders told stakeholders, and is significantly different from medical equipment supplier Zeltiq’s CoolSculpting System which freezes and destroys unwanted fat cells.

“They are developing a plate for submental fat but I think freezing the bottom of your chin, which for many patients creates numbness that can last for a few weeks and irritation to the skin, isn’t as uncomfortable as a once and done kind of injection procedure.

“Yes there are some more needles to this type of injection [Kybella], but when you talk to physicians that participated in the clinical trial or have gone through the initial training with Kythera, they’re very comfortable with how to manage the number of injections and don’t view it as a competitive area with CoolSculpting.”

Related topics: Drug Delivery

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