11:31 AM
 | 
Jul 12, 2018
 |  BC Extra  |  Company News

GSK hands off dermatitis, psoriasis candidate to Dermavant

The Dermavant Sciences dermatology subsidiary of Roivant Sciences GmbH (Basel, Switzerland) will shell out £150 million ($200 million) up front to GlaxoSmithKline plc (LSE:GSK; NYSE:GSK) to receive global rights to atopic dermatitis and psoriasis candidate tapinarof (GSK2894512, WBI-1001). The deal excludes China and is expected to close this half. The pharma is also eligible for £100 million ($133 million) in milestone payments.

GSK has completed two placebo-controlled Phase IIb studies of tapinarof in patients with atopic dermatitis and plaque psoriasis, respectively. In both trials, tapinarof led to clinically meaningful readouts on the primary endpoints of improvements in Physician or Investigator Global Assessment scores.

Last year, GSK withdrew a planned Phase III study for tapinarof to treat plaque psoriasis, and a Phase I pharmacokinetic-focused study. According to ClinicalTrials.gov, the trials were withdrawn because GSK had discontinued its development of the therapy.

GSK Spokesperson Mary Anne Rhyne said the pharma is looking for opportunities to divest or partner therapies that are topical and exclusively in development to treat dermatology indications.

Under Thursday's deal, Dermavant will also receive global rights to a preclinical backup program to tapinarof. Rhyne declined to disclose details on the program.

The pharma has global rights outside of China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan to the topical non-steroidal and non-immunosuppressive agent under a 2012 deal with Welichem Biotech Inc. (Burnaby, B.C.).

Dermavant declined to provide details.

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