Allergan to Acquire Crohn's Disease Drug

Allergan plans to acquire AstraZeneca’s MEDI2070, for moderate-to-severe Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and related conditions.

Allergan recently entered a licensing agreement with AstraZeneca’s biologics research and development arm, MedImmune, to acquire the drug MEDI2070.

The drug is currently in phase 2 clinical development to treat patients with moderate-to-severe Crohn’s disease, and is also ready to be tested in patients with ulcerative colitis and related conditions, according to Allergan.

The $250 million deal includes the licensing to develop and commercialize the drug under Allergan. The company will also make additional payments up to $1.27 billion to AstraZeneca under the agreement. MEDI2070 is an anti-IL-23 monoclonal antibody that is currently being developed by MedImmune.

Exclusively targeting IL-23 will likely offer more benefits than drugs that target both IL12/23, Allergan reported.

“MEDI2070 represents an exciting addition to our Open Science pipeline, adding an important new program currently being studied in Crohn's disease, with potential across a number of inflammatory and autoimmune disorders. The MEDI2070 program also reinforces Allergan's commitment to bringing forward important innovations in the treatment of inflammation and autoimmune disorders where significant unmet need exists across many of our therapeutic areas,” said David Nicholson, chief research & development officer, Allergan. “We look forward to bringing our significant clinical development and regulatory expertise to bear and maximizing the potential benefit of this possible new treatment option for patients.”

Under the agreement, MedImmune will continue the phase 2a study of MEDI2070 in Crohn’s disease. Once completed, Allergan will take over the phase 2b study.

“This agreement demonstrates our sharp focus on 3 main therapy areas while creating value from the increased R&D productivity and innovative science in our pipeline through collaborations,” said Bahija Jallal, executive vice president, MedImmune. “Allergan has significant experience in gastrointestinal and inflammatory diseases and is the right partner to progress the development and commercialization of MEDI2070.”

The addition of this drug demonstrates Allergan’s strong position in gastroenterology. They currently have drugs that treat irritable bowel syndromes C and D, chronic idiopathic constipation, and ulcerative colitis.

This acquisition, along with the acquisition of Vitae Pharmaceuticals, also demonstrates a commitment to furthering treatments for autoimmune disorders, according to Allergan.

“Although much progress has been made in the last 15 years in treating immune-mediated diseases such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, there continues to be a large need to provide safe and effective therapies for those patients who fail to have a durable response to existing agents,” said Bruce E. Sands, MD, principal Investigator of the Phase IIa and Phase IIb studies of MEDI2070. “Evidence suggests that interleukin-23 is a key cytokine in the immune processes that drive inflammatory bowel diseases. Based upon early clinical trial data, MEDI2070 may be an effective treatment for patients with Crohn's disease.”