Allergan to Acquire Dermatology Focused Biotech Company

Allergan plans to acquire Vitae Pharmaceuticals and their experimental dermatology drugs.

Allergan recently entered in a definitive agreement with Vitae Pharmaceuticals, a clinical-stage biotechnology company, which will strengthen the company’s dermatology product pipeline.

The board of directors for both companies unanimously approved the acquisition, with a reported value of $639 million, according to Allergan.

Allergan recently entered an agreement with RetroSense Pharmaceuticals that is expected to advance their eye care treatments. This latest acquisition is said to strengthen Allergan’s dermatology product pipeline.

“The acquisition of Vitae is a strategic investment for Allergan that adds strength and depth to our innovative medical dermatology franchise,” said Brent Saunders, CEO and president of Allergan. “Vitae has pioneered the discovery and development of highly differentiated first-in-class compounds in atopic dermatitis, psoriasis and autoimmune diseases, areas of medicine where innovation is needed for patients.”

Included in the agreement is Vitae Pharmaceutical’s drug VTP-43742, a phase 2 orally-active retinoic acid receptor-related orphan receptor gamma inhibitor. The drug inhibits IL-17 activity, and could potentially be used to treat psoriasis and other autoimmune disorders.

In preclinical studies, the drug was shown to inhibit retinoic acid receptor-related orphan receptor gamma, and could be administered as a once-daily oral dose, according to Allergan. The drug has also completed a phase 2 clinical trial in patients with moderate-to-severe psoriasis.

The acquisition adds VTP-38543, an experimental drug that could potentially treat atopic dermatitis. The drug is believed to work by lessening inflammation in damaged skin, while also repairing the outer layer.

VTP-38543 is a phase 2 clinical trial analyzing the safety, tolerability, and efficacy in patients with mild-to-moderate atopic dermatitis. Vitae utilizes its Contour drug design platform to discover product candidates for therapeutic targets, an area where biopharmaceutical research and development has struggled due to potency, selectivity, and pharmokinetics, according to Allergan.

“Both the VTP-43742 and VTP-38543 programs offer the potential for highly differentiated mechanisms of action for the treatment of dermatologic conditions where patients are underserved by currently approved treatments,” said David Nicholson, chief research & development officer, Allergan. “In addition, Vitae's novel Contour drug discovery platform and its team, which have been instrumental in the discovery of novel 'difficult to drug' compounds, will be highly complementary to Allergan's existing R&D discovery efforts in key therapeutic areas.”

Both Allergan and Vitae Pharmaceuticals expect that incorporating expertise from both companies will increase treatment options for patients who currently have limited treatments for skin conditions.

“The Vitae team has been tremendously successful in discovering and conducting early development work in areas of medicine that can benefit from significant innovation,” said Jeff Hatfield, president and chief executive officer of Vitae. "Allergan has a long track record in developing and commercializing innovative dermatologic treatments. I believe our programs will be poised for successful development as part of Allergan's portfolio. I am very proud of the tremendous contributions of our research teams and the clinical community who have led the discovery and development of our pipeline programs, and I thank them for their dedication to this science that may one day help many patients with dermatologic conditions, autoimmune disorders and potentially other conditions."