MIT’s Langer sells off excipients biotech to break into Biosimilar market

By Dani Bancroft contact

- Last updated on GMT

iStock/Esben_H
iStock/Esben_H

Related tags: Active ingredient, Pharmacology

Eagle Pharmaceuticals Inc. has announced its intention to buy Arsia Therapeutics citing its formulation viscosity reduction platform as the driver for the deal.

Cambridge Mass., Arsia Therapeutics – which was set up by MIT professors Robert Langer and Alex Klibanov - is developing a platform to enable highly viscous therapies to be delivered via subcutaneous injection.

The firm uses a library of inert, small molecule excipients for different active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), to reduce formulation viscosity and allow subcutaneous injection methods over IV delivery.

For the patient, subcutaneous injection is often preferred to IV delivery, as it removes the need and discomfort of having a cannula fitted and injections can take place at home, rather than in a clinic or hospital.

Through this acquisition​, Eagle is therefore looking to use the Arsia platform to break into the biologicals market by offering “biobetter formulations.”

Eagle’s CEO Scott Tarriff said:“This is a natural extension of Eagle’s business model, applied to the biologics space.”

Biobetters

Through the acquisition, Eagle will gain access to Arsia’s library of proprietary small molecule excipients, some of which are novel and others “with a history of FDA-approved parenteral use in humans,”​ (i.e. non-orally administered).

Tarriff added: “Arsia will significantly enhance Eagle’s formulation capabilities and greatly expand our product development opportunities.”

In addition, the firm looks to expand on Arsia’s early-stage partnerships with other pharmas, to “help alter their pipelines into biobetters.”

Robert Langer - co-founder of Arsia - is a well-known professor who holds over 1100 granted or pending patents, and whose lab MIT claims is the largest biomedical engineering lab in the world.

The acquisition is valued up to $78m (€73.3m) including milestone payments.

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