MUMBAI, India & PRINCETON, N.J.—Sun Pharma announced last week that it will acquire cancer therapy Odomzo from Novartis for an upfront payment of $175 million, plus additional milestone payments. Subsidiaries of both companies have signed the agreement, which is slated to close pending the completion of anti-trust clearance and further closing conditions. This acquisition boosts Sun Pharma's dermatology portfolio and provides the company with its first branded oncology product.
“Odomzo gives us an opportunity to meaningfully expand our already-established branded dermatology business and support our expansion into branded oncology with a launched brand,” Kirti Ganorkar, global head of Business Development at Sun Pharma, said in a press release. “We see meaningful global potential for Odomzo by leveraging Sun Pharma’s existing dermatology and oncology infrastructure to provide an innovative product to BCC patients worldwide.”
Odomzo is an oral selective smoothened (SMO) inhibitor indicated for the treatment of basel cell carcinoma (BCC). SMO is a molecule known to regulate the hedgehog signaling pathway, which holds a significant role in advanced BCC as well as stem cell maintenance and tissue repair. The drug was approved last July by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of adults with locally advanced basal cell carcinoma who have had a recurrence of their disease following surgery or radiation therapy, or those who are not eligible for those therapies. At present, Odomzo has received marketing approval in more than 30 countries, including the United States, Europe and Australia.
BCC comprises roughly 80 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers globally, and accounts for more than 2 million estimated cases in the United States alone. The global incidence is increasing by 10 percent annually due to an aging population and increased exposure to ultraviolet light. BCC is characterized by abnormal, uncontrolled growths or lesions in the skin's basal cells, which line the outermost layer of the epidermis. This occurs most frequently on the head and neck, with the nose as the most common site. When BCC spreads to nearby tissue, it is known as locally advanced BCC, and advanced BCC is estimated to comprise approximately 1 to 10 percent of all cases of this cancer type.
“We look forward to collaborating with the medical community to bring this novel therapy to the market to patients suffering from locally advanced basal cell carcinoma. Odomzo complements and enhances our existing dermatology franchise. This acquisition has the potential to leverage and expand the relationships that our Levulan sales team have with the dermatologists that treat common pre-cancerous skin conditions,” commented Jesper Jensen, head of Biologics and Dermatology for Sun Pharma.
In the Phase 2 BOLT trial, data from which were presented at this year's ASCO meeting, treatment with Odomzo resulted in continued anti-tumor activity for more than 26 months. At the 30-month followup, patients with locally advanced BCC had an overall response rate of 56 percent with Odomzo 200 mg. No new safety concerns were reported.
SOURCE: Sun Pharma press release