UCB announced the acquisition of Engage Therapeutics, Inc. (Summit, N.J. (U.S.)), a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company developing Staccato®Alprazolam for the rapid termination of an active epileptic seizure, for US$ 125 million in cash (subject to certain adjustments) and up to US$ 145 million in further potential milestone payments related to clinical development, submission and launch of Staccato® Alprazolam.
Charl van Zyl, Executive Vice President UCB and Head of Neurology said: “Like UCB, Engage is a company with a deep-seated passion in epilepsy. Several of Engage’s founders and leaders have personal connections to epilepsy and have been active in the epilepsy community for quite some time. Staccato® Alprazolam is an excellent strategic fit with our patient value growth strategy in epilepsy. It offers a potential solution for acute, on-demand treatment of a seizure, an unmet need for up to 30% of all epileptic patients, and strengthens our current epilepsy portfolio by adding this late-stage asset.”
Staccato® Alprazolam is an investigational drug (Phase 2) designed to be used as a single-use epileptic seizure rescue therapy that combines the Staccato® delivery technology with alprazolam, a benzodiazepine. It is a small, hand-held inhaler device designed for easy delivery of alprazolam with a single normal breath potentially providing a way for people with epilepsy and their caregivers to stop an active seizure. The Staccato® system rapidly vaporizes alprazolam to form an aerosol, with particle size designed for deep lung delivery to produce a rapid, systemic effect.
Engage acquired worldwide rights to Staccato® Alprazolam in 2017 under a license agreement with Alexza Pharmaceuticals Inc., Mountain View, CA, U.S. In connection with the acquisition, UCB has also entered into an updated license and related commercial supply agreement with Alexza, under which the parties will continue to collaborate in the development and commercialization of Staccato® Alprazolam.
UCB, Brussels, Belgium is a global biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of innovative medicines and solutions to transform the lives of people living with severe diseases of the immune system or of the central nervous system. With more than 7 500 people in approximately 40 countries, UCB generated revenue of € 4.9 billion in 2019.