Companies believe Rhythm’s focus on metabolic diseases will speed development of the peptide therapeutics.

Rhythm Pharmaceuticals negotiated an exclusive, worldwide license to Ipsen’s preclinical melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH) and ghrelin hormone peptide analogue programs. The companies claim the candidates could have applications in areas including obesity, metabolic diseases, and gastrointestinal disorders.

As part of the deal Ipsen is taking a 17% equity stake in Rhythm and could earn another $80 million in development and commercial milestones as well as sales royalties. Rhythm will also tap into Ipsen’s formulation capabilities and expertise to develop delivery systems for the peptides.

The license covers compounds and IP relating to Ipsen’s ghrelin agonists including lead compound BIM-38131, which is believed to have potential as a treatment for gastrointestinal motility disorders as well as for cachexia resulting from diseases like cancer. The acquired MSH agonist program includes lead compound BIM-22493, which targets the melanocortin-4 receptor. Ipsen suggests this candidate has potential applications in the treatment of obesity, diabetes, and related metabolic disorders.

“This agreement with Rhythm is a clear catalyst for the development of proprietary molecules from Ipsen in promising indications within areas of metabolic diseases, which are outside of our core strategic focus,” states Stéphane Thiroloix, evp of corporate development at Ipsen. “Given Rhythm’s complete focus on metabolic diseases, this transaction will leverage our combined expertise and resources to rapidly transform these important discoveries into valuable medical treatments.” 

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