Amgen has agreed to acquire Dezima Pharma from Forbion Capital Partners for up to $1.55 billion-plus, Forbion said today.

Dezima was founded in 2012 by John Kastelein, M.D., Ph.D., FESC, a professor at the Academic Medical Center of the University of Amsterdam; he serves as Dezima’s CSO. Dezima’s lead product is TA-8995, an oral, once-daily Cholesteryl Ester Transfer Protein (CETP) inhibitor for dyslipidemic patients suffering from cardiovascular disease (CVD).

In June, Dezima’s TULIP (TA-8995: its use in patients with mild dyslipidemia) study showed that TA-8995, both as monotherapy and on top of statins, caused significant decrease of LDL and simultaneous increase of cholesterol efflux capacity, according to results published in The Lancet.

Amgen has agreed to acquire all outstanding shares of Dezima for up to $1.55 billion from Forbion and other current shareholders, subject to obtaining U.S. Federal Trade Commission clearance. The acquisition price includes an upfront payment of $300 million, milestone payments of up to $1.25 billion and low-single-digit royalties on net product sales above an unspecified threshold.

“Xention Ltd, one of our UK portfolio companies, designed and executed the required pre-clinical studies and optimized the manufacturing of the product,” Sander Slootweg, Forbion’s managing partner and chairman of Dezima, said in a statement. “Today’s acquisition and the value that Amgen has set on the company, validates our belief in the team and the science. Dezima will be a great fit for Amgen and complements its other products targeting high cholesterol.”

On August 27, Amgen disclosed that it won FDA approval for the cholesterol-lowering, every-two-weeks injection drug Repatha™ (evolocumab), a human monoclonal antibody that inhibits the binding of proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) to the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor (LDLR). Earlier this month, Amgen submitted an application with the agency for approval of a once-a-month injection dosage.

Forbion helped to found, fund and staff the company, including in-licensing TA-8995 from Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma. Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma will receive an undisclosed portion of the upfront payment and future development and sales milestones from Dezima. Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma will also retain development and commercialization rights to TA-8995 in certain territories in Asia, including Japan, Forbion said.

Forbion and its affiliate BioGeneration Ventures (BGV)—a manager of funds that invest venture capital in life sciences companies in The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany—brought in other investors including New Science Ventures (NSV) and current CEO Rob de Ree.

“There has been an auspicious coming together of key elements leading up to this acquisition by Amgen: the combination of great chemistry by [Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma] which designed TA-8995, our skilled and experienced pre-clinical and clinical development team led by [COO] John Ford, Ph.D., and [CMO] Patrick Round, MBBS, in Cambridge (UK) coupled with smart capital provided by Forbion, NSV and BGV,” Dr. Kastelein added.

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