Bayer to acquire KaNDy Therapeutics in $875M women’s health play

KaNDy’s lead product candidate, NT-814, is a non-hormonal treatment for symptoms of menopause. The drug completed Phase IIb testing and is slated to start Phase III testing next year.

A large German drugmaker is paying upwards to nearly $900 million to acquire a privately held British biotech company focused on women’s health.

Leverkusen, Germany-based Bayer said Tuesday that it would pay $425 million upfront to acquire Stevenage, U.K.-based KaNDy Therapeutics, with an aim toward expanding its women’s health pipeline. The deal, which is subject to antitrust approval, is expected to close by next month.

In addition to the upfront payment, Bayer will pay potential milestone payments of up to $450 million related to NT-814, a drug that KaNDy is developing as a treatment to alleviate symptoms of menopause. The drug, which is described as a non-hormonal neurokinin-1,3 receptor antagonist designed for once-daily oral administration, recently completed Phase IIb clinical testing and is expected to enter into a Phase III clinical trial in 2021. The drug is considered to have a potential to generate more than 1 billion euros ($1.18 billion) around the world when it reaches the peak of its sales.

In particular, NT-814 is meant to treat vasomotor symptoms, which include hot flashes and night sweats and are estimated to affect up to 75% of women, affecting their work and private life.

“Bayer has been our preferred partner due to its leading position in the area of women’s healthcare,” KaNDy Therapeutics CEO Mary Kerr said in a statement. “We believe that under the ownership of Bayer, this potential groundbreaking medicine can be optimally developed to become an important non-hormonal treatment option for women suffering debilitating symptoms of the menopause.”

Bayer noted that the KaNDy deal follows another women’s health-related agreement made earlier this year, when in January it signed a deal with Hamburg, Germany-based Evotec to expand their existing partnership to include a five-year collaboration to develop multiple drug candidates to treat polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS. PCOS is believed to potentially be responsible for 83% of cases of infertility or pregnancy complications and occur in 5-10% of women. That deal included upfront and research payments worth 16.5 million euros ($19.4 million) and milestone payments of up to 330 million euros ($388.1 million).

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