After BMS walked away from Promedior, Roche to acquire the fibroid-treatment firm for $1.4B

Roche will provide $390 million in cash upfront and then provide milestone payments to acquire Promedior, which is developing a drug to treat a rare and fatal lung disease.

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Promedior, a Massachusetts biotech company, announced Friday that Roche is buying the firm for $1.39 billion.

Per news reports, BMS had initially expected to buy the company for $1.25 billion back in 2015 but it appears to have spurned the deal later.

Promedior has developed a group of molecules, most notably the PRM-151 for the targeted treatment of fibrotic diseases. PRM-151 is a recombinant of the human Pentraxin-2 protein. Specifically, the molecule is designed to treat idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and positive outcomes in a human trial led the Food and Drug Administration to give it a Breakthrough Therapy designation.

A news release said that results from a phase 2 trial showed that PRM-151 is the “first molecule to show significant lung function improvements on top of current therapies in IPF.” Results of the trial published in JAMA in 2018, showed that in that randomized Phase 2 study, PRM-151 slowed the decline of lung function and stabilized 6-minute walk distance. These appear to suggest that the drug has a benefit in slowing overall functional declined for IPF patients.

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a serious, chronic disease that affects the surrounding the air sacs, or alveoli, in the lungs. The cause is unknown and over time it can lead to permanent scarring in the lungs, — fibrosis, — that make it difficult for the person to breathe. Most alarmingly, there is no cure for IPF.

“Due to Roche’s strong expertise in IPF, hematological cancer and other fibrotic disorders, we believe Roche is ideally positioned to bring the potential of our platform to patients and provide new treatment options within these areas of urgent unmet medical need,” said Jason Lettmann, CEO of Promedior.

PRM-151 has also shown promise, though it’s early, in treating myelofibrosis (MF). The molecule’s anti-fibrotic mechanism is expected to have a good impact on treating other fibrotic diseases as well.

Roche will provide $390 million in cash upfront and then provide milestone payments to acquire Promedior.

For Roche, the addition of Promedior and PRM-151 could boost the company’s position in the serious fibrotic disease space. The company is testing

Given that IPF is a rare and fatal disease, Roche is not the only player looking to develop an effective drug. Earlier this year, Germany-based Boehringer Ingelheim entered into a licensing agreement with Bridge Biotherapeutics to further develop its autotaxin inhibitor BBT-877 for patients with fibrosing interstitial lung diseases, including IPF. That molecule BBT-877 is in Phase I clinical studies and is expected to enter Phase 2 testing within the next 12 months.

The German pharma company itself has developed OFEV (nintedanib), an antifibrotic drug that is approved for the treatment of IPF in more than 70 countries around the world including the US, the European Union and Japan.

According to Boehringer Ingelheim, IPF is a rare disease that affects approximately three million people worldwide,