Firm expects to spend about $20 million in further development.

Celtic Therapeutics will acquire and license worldwide rights related to Bellus Health’s Phase III candidate for AA amyloidosis, Kiacta™, for $10 million up front. AA amyloidosis is an orphan disease that occurs in patients with long-lasting inflammatory conditions, most commonly due to rheumatoid arthritis.

Kiacta has received orphan drug status designation in the U.S. and Europe and will advance to a second Phase III trial in the second half of this year. Celtic has agreed to completely fund further development, estimated at $20 million. A steering committee of five members, including two from Bellus Health, will be overseeing execution of the Phase III study and product development. Celtic will complete regulatory requirements and expects to eventually conduct an auction process for the commercialization rights of Kiacta and share the proceeds equally with Bellus.

The first Phase III trial with Kiacta was an international, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, and parallel-designed study in which 183 AA amyloidosis patients were enrolled at 27 sites around the world. The results demonstrated that Kiacta reduced the progression of AA amyloidosis-associated renal disease.

Founded in 2007, Celtic Therapeutics is a global private equity firm that identifies, acquires, and develops therapeutic products and related diagnostics in mid- and late-stage clinical development. Based in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Celtic Therapeutics maintains acquisition, origination, and drug development operations in New York and Switzerland.

“Celtic Therapeutics seeks to build one of the most valued late-stage portfolios in the global biomedical industry,” explains Stephen Evans-Freke, co-founder and general partner of Celtic Therapeutics. “Kiacta, with its orphan drug status, intellectual property position, and potential to address an important unmet medical need, is a perfect fit for our portfolio of late-stage development candidates. It is also our first transaction with a company in the Canadian biotechnology industry—an industry that is ripe with opportunities.”

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