Zogenix, Inc, a global pharmaceutical company developing rare disease therapies, announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Modis Therapeutics, Inc., a privately held biopharmaceutical company focused on developing novel therapies for rare genetic diseases with high unmet medical need. Modis’s lead product candidate, MT1621, an investigational deoxynucleoside substrate enhancement therapy, is in late-stage development for the treatment of Thymidine Kinase 2 deficiency (TK2d), an inherited mitochondrial DNA depletion disorder that predominantly affects children and is often fatal.
“This transaction advances Zogenix’s mission to become a leading rare disease pharmaceutical company by adding MT1621 to our pipeline of late-stage FINTEPLA® programs,” said Stephen J. Farr, Ph.D., President and CEO of Zogenix. “Based on the compelling clinical data generated to date, we believe that MT1621 has the potential to significantly alter the course of the disease and improve outcomes in patients with TK2d. With Breakthrough Therapy and PRIME designations, MT1621 may be eligible for an accelerated regulatory path in both the U.S. and Europe, and we look forward to meeting and working with regulatory authorities to discuss next steps for the program.”
A pivotal Phase 2 retrospective treatment study (called RETRO) of MT1621 substrate enhancement therapy in patients with TK2d was recently completed, with results demonstrating a substantial treatment benefit for patients. Thirty-eight patients from eight clinical sites in three countries (U.S., Spain and Israel) were enrolled in RETRO and received MT1621 treatment for up to seven years. Outcomes from patients enrolled in RETRO were compared to outcomes from a comprehensive, global TK2d natural history dataset of 68 patients.
The difference in survival probability between MT1621-treated RETRO patients and untreated natural history control patients was statistically significant (p<0.004); all patients treated with MT1621 remain alive. In addition, patients treated with MT1621 demonstrated marked improvements in functional abilities, in some cases re-acquiring previously lost motor milestones. Safety data from RETRO indicated that MT1621 was generally safe and well-tolerated, with mild or moderate diarrhea being the most common treatment-related adverse event, occurring in 63% of patients. Treatment-related serious adverse events (SAEs) were reported in four patients. Two adult-onset patients stopped treatment due to asymptomatic increases in aminotransferases, without increases in bilirubin, which resolved upon discontinuation of treatment.
Under the terms of the transaction, Modis will receive an upfront payment of $250 million, comprised of $175 million in cash and $75 million in Zogenix common stock. Modis is also eligible to receive additional milestone payments consisting of $100 million upon receipt of U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of MT1621in the U.S. and $50 million upon European Medicines Agency approval in Europe. Zogenix will also pay a 5% royalty on any future net sales of MT1621.
“Zogenix shares our deep commitment to improving treatment options for patients with rare diseases,” said Joshua Grass, CEO of Modis Therapeutics. “This transaction reflects the strategic value of Modis and the results we have achieved with MT1621 to date, and we are confident that Zogenix is ideally positioned to complete development and bring MT1621 to patients in need as expeditiously as possible.”
Zogenix’s acquisition of Modis is subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including expiration or termination of the applicable waiting period under the Hart-Scott Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 and approval of Modis’s stockholders. Pending satisfaction of the conditions to closing, the transaction is expected to close in September 2019.
SVB Leerink acted as financial advisor to Zogenix. Latham & Watkins is acting as legal advisor to Zogenix, and Fenwick & West is acting as legal advisor to Modis.
About TK2 Deficiency
Thymidine kinase 2 deficiency (TK2d) is a genetic disorder that results in mitochondrial dysfunction, leading in turn to inadequate energy production in cells. The disease presents as progressive and severe muscle weakness that profoundly impairs movement, breathing, eating, and other normal functions, and is often fatal. Believed to be significantly underdiagnosed, TK2d affects up to 2,500 patients in the U.S., primarily infants and young children. There are currently no approved therapies for this disease. To learn more, please visit www.tk2d.com.
MT1621 is an investigational deoxynucleoside combination therapy that targets the underlying pathophysiology of TK2 deficiency. Deoxynucleoside combination therapy has been shown to improve cell function and prolong life in preclinical models of TK2d. Data from initial clinical studies suggest that this therapy may meaningfully alter the course of disease in patients with TK2d. Modis is planning to conduct additional clinical studies with the goal of obtaining regulatory approval to make MT1621 available to patients globally.
About Modis Therapeutics
Modis Therapeutics, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing disease-modifying therapies for rare genetic diseases with high unmet medical need. It was formed in 2016 through a collaboration with academic experts in mitochondrial biology. The company’s lead program (MT1621) is in clinical development for TK2d, an inherited mitochondrial disease. Modis Therapeutics is headquartered in Oakland, CA, with offices in New York City. For more information please visit www.modistx.com.
Zogenix is a global pharmaceutical company committed to developing and commercializing transformative therapies to improve the lives of patients and their families living with rare diseases. The Company is preparing to resubmit its New Drug Application for FINTEPLA® (ZX008, fenfluramine) to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration for the treatment of seizures associated with Dravet syndrome, a rare and often-catastrophic infant-onset epilepsy that can include frequent and prolonged seizures and significant intellectual, behavioral, and motor disabilities. FINTEPLA® is under review by the European Medicines Agency and is in development in Japan, also for the treatment of Dravet syndrome, and is also in development globally for the treatment of Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, another severe childhood onset epilepsy.