|Masayuki Mitsuka —President Mitsubishi Tanabe|
Mitsubishi Tanabe is gobbling up the Israeli biotech NeuroDerm $NDRM, offering an early morning taste of the M&A activity that has been woefully short in the industry so far this year.
The Japanese pharma company agreed to pay $1.1 billion for the biotech, which has been developing a lead program for continued dosing of levodopa/carbidopa for Parkinson’s patients. That’s $39 a share, or a 79% premium over the unaffected early June price.
NeuroDerm’s biggest accomplishment has been developing a liquid formulation of levodopa/carbidopa that could be continuously delivered via a wearable pump. The Japanese buyer thinks this will fit well with Radicava, its newly approved ALS drug that is being launched next month in the US. NeuroDerm is also developing apomorphine, a mid-stage program for Parkinson’s, and a transdermal patch for CNS diseases and cognitive disorders.
Peter Wellford at Jefferies has been a keen advocate of the company’s prospects, projecting peak sales of its late-stage ND0612 at $1.7 billion – provided it gained an approval.
Wellford noted today:
Both ‘0612L/H are liquid formulations of the current Parkinson’s disease (PD) standard-of-care L-dopa/carbidopa as NeuroDerm has circumvented challenging chemistry to overcome the short half-life and poor bioavailability that has plagued L-dopa oral use. A convenient, continuous infusion of L-dopa could offer substantial clinical benefits for more advanced PD patients, avoiding the fluctuations of peak-dose dyskinesias and wearing-off, plus the potential for improved quality of sleep and delayed morning “on” given night-time dosing. We forecast $1.7bn WW peak sales, including $900m in the US. Assuming 50% probability of success, arguably overly cautious given the products’ profile, and late-2019E launches we derive a $37/share NPV.
Just a few weeks ago investigators outlined data indicating that the new dosing approach was effective in reducing “off” times for patients.
Most analysts started the year looking for a boost in the level of M&A deals in biopharma this year. But aside from the Ariad and Actelion buyouts along with a short string of smaller deals like this, the big buyers have not been eager to pay large premiums for new experimental products.