Arrowhead cashes in to sell royalty rights to heart drug for $250m

By Ben Hargreaves

- Last updated on GMT

© dolgachov / Getty Images
© dolgachov / Getty Images

Related tags: royalty rights

Royalty Pharma will acquire the royalty interest for olpasiran, which is being developed by Amgen.

Royalty Pharma will acquire the entire royalty interest in olpasiran from Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals, paying $250m (€243m) in an upfront sum and reserving an additional $160m (€155m) dependent on clinical, regulatory, and sales milestones.

Though originally developed by Arrowhead, Amgen licensed the drug in 2016, and is progressing the small interfering RNA (siRNA) treatment through trials.

The deal between the companies provided Amgen with a license to develop and commercialize two potential RNAi treatments for cardiovascular indications. Amgen paid $56.6m upfront and locked a further $617m into additional milestone and equity payments.

It is the royalty part of this arrangement that Arrowhead has now sold on to Royalty Pharma, which are set at “low double digits”​ for the worldwide net sales of olpasiran.

Arrowhead stated that it will retain the rights to a further $400m in development, regulatory and sales milestone payments potentially due from Amgen.

The treatment at the center of the deal, olpasiran, which is designed to lower levels of lipoprotein(a) (Lp(a)), a genetically-determined independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Chris Anzalone, Arrowhead’s CEO, stated, “The early monetization of this potential royalty stream validates olpasiran’s significant potential and enables us to continue to invest in our TRiM platform and our diverse and growing pipeline of RNAi therapeutic candidates.”

The company has a number of treatment candidates in its pipeline, targeting the liver, lung, tumors and muscles. It has licensed four of its candidates, two to Janssen, one to Amgen, and one to GSK. Arrowhead is also partnered with Takeda and Horizon on the development of an additional two drug candidates.

The targeted RNAi molecule (TRiM) platform mentioned by Anzalone utilizes ligand-mediated delivery and is designed to enable tissue-specific targeting. The platform comprises an RNA trigger alongside a high affinity targeting ligand, various linkers and chemistries, and structures that enhance pharmacokinetics.

Promise pays off

Only three days prior to the royalty agreement between Arrowhead and Royalty Pharma, Amgen released new Phase II data on the treatment candidate. The company outlined that it had tested olpasiran in adults with elevated lipoprotein(a) [Lp(a)] levels (>150 nmol/L) and a history of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD).

The outcomes of the trial showed that olpasiran had reduced lipoprotein(a) levels by more than 95% in patients with established ASCVD. At the same time, Amgen noted that adverse events were similar in the olpasiran and placebo arms of the trial.

Based on the results, Amgen stated it is initiating a Phase III cardiovascular outcomes trial.

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