On October 3, Incyte announced the acquisition of Villaris Therapeutics, which was invested and incubated by Medicxi, and acquired the latter’s anti-IL-15Rβ monoclonal antibody drug auremolimab (VM6). Villaris shareholders will receive an upfront payment of $70 million and up to $1.36 billion in mileage.
Auremolimab is a novel ultra-humanized anti-IL-15Rβ(CD122) monoclonal antibody designed to target and deplete tissue resident memory T cells (TRM). Auremolimab has been shown to be effective in the treatment of vitiligo in preclinical models and is currently in the IND preparation stage and is expected to enter clinical trials in 2023.
Under the terms of the agreement, Incyte, through its acquisition of Villaris, will gain exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize auremolimab for all potential diseases, including vitiligo and other autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.
Incyte will make an upfront payment of $70 million to Villaris shareholders, who will also be eligible to receive up to $310 million in future development and regulatory milestones, as well as additional commercial mileage of up to $1.05 billion in net product sales.
Incyte believes the existing acquisition will complement its validated and autoimmune product pipeline and explore potential indications for auremolimab outside of dermatology.
Headquartered in Cary, North Carolina, Villaris was founded in 2019 by Medicxi and John Harris, MD, to develop a potentially transformative new therapy to improve the lives of people with vitiligo.
Villaris is one of the innovative biotechs invested and incubated by Medicxi. Many companies that the institution has invested in and incubated have been acquired, such as: Impact Biomedicines (acquired by Celgene); XO1 (acquired by Janssen Pharmaceuticals); SynthorX (acquired by Sanofi) ; Miro Bio (acquired by Gilead); and PanGenetics (acquired by Abbott).