IFM Therapeutics (IFM), a privately held biopharmaceutical company focused on developing therapies that modulate novel targets in the innate immune system, announced today that it has reached a definitive agreement with Novartis, under which Novartis will acquire all of the outstanding capital stock of IFM Tre, a subsidiary company of IFM. Upon the closing of the agreement, IFM will receive $310 million in upfront payments and will be eligible for up to $1.265 billion in milestone payments, for a total of $1.575 billion in total consideration. IFM Tre launched in July 2018, with a focus on developing a suite of NLRP3 antagonists for the treatment of inflammatory diseases.
The acquisition will give Novartis full rights to IFM Tre’s portfolio of NLPR3 antagonists, which consists of one clinical and two pre-clinical programs: IFM-2427, a first-in-class, clinical stage systemic antagonist for an array of chronic inflammatory disorders including atherosclerosis and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH); a pre-clinical stage gut-directed molecule for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease; and a pre-clinical stage central nervous system (CNS)-penetrant molecule.
“IFM Tre’s compounds have demonstrated that they can fine-tune the immune system, offering a potentially potent approach for treating a large variety of diseases associated with inflammation,” said Jay Bradner, President of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research. “We look forward to applying our deep expertise in this field to advancing these medicines through the clinic and to patients who need them.”
NLRP3 (NOD-, LRR- and pyrin domain-containing 3) is an intracellular innate immune signaling receptor that allows immune cells to detect the presence of pro-inflammatory foreign or endogenous molecules that signal infection, tissue damage or metabolic derangements. These conditions trigger the assembly of a multi-protein complex called an inflammasome, which then initiates an immune response. While this response can be useful for fending off foreign pathogens, abnormal or chronic activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome is known to cause negative downstream effects and the onset and progression of numerous diseases. IFM Tre’s programs target the innate immune system by suppressing only the inflammation mediated by the NLRP3 pathway, leaving other immune pathways unsuppressed and free to produce inflammatory responses to confront harmful pathogens.
“Since founding IFM in 2015, our team has worked tirelessly to build a portfolio of next-generation small molecule medicines that exploit the innate immune system as a new therapeutic target,” said Gary D. Glick, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of IFM Therapeutics. “Today’s announcement marks a significant milestone in the development of next-generation therapies for serious inflammatory conditions. Based on substantial pre-clinical and translational data, we believe NLRP3 inhibition represents a novel approach to preventing the overactive inflammation that drives the onset and progression of numerous metabolic, fibrotic, autoimmune and neurological diseases. With Novartis we have identified a partner that shares our conviction in the potential of this approach, and who has deep expertise bringing inflammatory and autoimmune disease therapeutics to market. We look forward to collaborating with Novartis, while continuing to develop programs that target other components of the innate immune system through IFM Due and the broader IFM enterprise.”
The transaction has been approved by the board of directors and stockholders of IFM. IFM and Novartis anticipate the transaction will close during the second quarter of 2019. Closing of the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act.
About IFM Tre
IFM Tre, a subsidiary of IFM Therapeutics, is a biopharmaceutical company developing a suite of small-molecule antagonists targeting inappropriate inflammatory responses of the innate immune system through the NLRP3 pathway, which is believed to underlie a variety of serious diseases. The Company is developing chemically distinct systemic, gut-directed and CNS-penetrant drug candidates to address a breadth of indications triggered by NLRP3, including metabolic, fibrotic, autoimmune, autoinflammatory, and neurological diseases.
About IFM Therapeutics
IFM Therapeutics (IFM) is a privately held biopharmaceutical company based in Boston, Massachusetts. The Company was founded by an international group of preeminent scientists and physicians following the sale of IFM Therapeutics, Inc. (originally founded by Gary D. Glick and Atlas Venture) to Bristol-Myers Squibb. IFM’s team has discovered and developed small molecules that modulate novel targets in the innate immune system as next-generation therapies for cancer, auto-immunity, and inflammatory disorders. In addition to IFM Tre, IFM owns and operates IFM Due, a subsidiary company launched in February 2019 that is developing small-molecule antagonists and inhibitors targeting aberrant inflammatory responses of the innate immune system triggered by the cGAS-STING pathway, which is believed to underlie a variety of serious diseases. For more information, please visit www.ifmthera.com.