Vertex gains renal disease cytokine in $4.9bn Alpine buy

Vertex Pharmaceuticals says it will add protein engineering and immunotherapy expertise through the addition of Alpine Immune Sciences.

Shreeyashi Ojha, Reporter

April 15, 2024

2 Min Read
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As per the agreement, Vertex has gained Alpine’s lead candidate for IgA nephropathy (IgAN), povetacicept, which is in Phase II development. Povetacicept targets two types of proteins called BAFF (B cell activating factor) and APRIL, a proliferation inducing ligand, to treat multiple autoimmune diseases.

“We see this acquisition as just the right fit with just the right assets at just the right phase of development, where Vertex can add value. Alpine's protein engineering and immunotherapy expertise along with a strong talent and culture aligned with Vertex is focused on innovation and serving patients,” said Vertex CEO, Reshma Kewalramani during a conference call.

IgAN is a progressive, autoimmune renal disease that can prove fatal if left untreated. It commonly leads to primary (idiopathic) glomerulonephritis, affecting approximately 130,000 people in the US. The treatment is on track to enter Phase III clinical development in the second half of 2024. If approved, povetacicept will be the first IgAN therapy available on the market.

“We are particularly excited about this transaction because we believe strongly that Vertex’s capabilities will accelerate povetacicept’s development bringing this potential best in class medicine to patients faster, while adding important protein engineering and immunotherapy expertise to vertexes toolbox,” said Jeff Leiden, executive chairman of Vertex, on the call.

According to the firm, povetacicept can potentially be used to treat other serious renal autoimmune diseases such as membranous nephropathy, lupus nephritis, and autoimmune cytopenias.

Talking about the timeline of povetacicept, Vertex’s CFO Charles Wagner said, “As we close this transaction, we aim to leverage our clinical regulatory and commercial capabilities to accelerate development and commercialization of povetacicept and are targeting approval in IgAN in 2027. With significant revenue potential, povetacicept can begin to contribute to our revenue growth and diversification in 2028, while a highly attractive margin and commercial profile adds to profitability thereafter.”

The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2024. The firms did not respond when contacted by this publication.

About the Author(s)

Shreeyashi Ojha

Reporter, BioProcess Insider

Journalist covering the manufacturing and processing sectors for biopharmaceuticals globally.  

Originally from India, I am a Londoner at heart. I have recently graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London.  

Feel free to reach out to me at: [email protected].

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