Irish rare-disease drug group Amryt has acquired a US business in a landmark deal that expands its portfolio of medicines.
The deal to buy US-headquartered Chiasma, which is said to value the US business at $330 million (€277 million), comes as Amryt upgraded full-year forecasts marginally as it announced figures for the first quarter that pointed to a significant reduction in losses at the business.
Chiasma has developed a technology that allows treatment previously confined to injection to be given orally instead. That makes it easier for patients to self-medicate rather than having to attend clinics for treatment on a regular basis.
Also specialising in rare diseases, its first drug, Mycapssa, was approved last summer by the US regulator, the Food and Drug Administration, becoming the first approved oral therapy for acromegaly, a rare endocrine disorder.
Acromegaly is typically caused by a benign tumour in the pituitary gland, resulting in hormone overproduction and excess growth or gigantism. That can lead to a range of symptoms, including the enlargement of hands, feet, facial features and/or internal organs. It affects an estimated 69,000 people worldwide.
Amryt reported revenue of $48.4 million for the first quarter 2021, up nearly 9 per cent year on year, and an operating loss of $3.4 million for the period, while increasing its full-year revenue guidance to $205-$210 million.
Amryt chief executive Joe Wiley said the company was anticipating growth in sales of between 12 and 15 per cent in the current year, before any potential contribution from the proposed Chiasma transaction.
“I am very pleased with today’s very strong results for Q1 which represent a 13.9 per cent increase in revenues on Q4 and which demonstrate the continued positive momentum and growth we are experiencing in our business across our two commercial products globally,” he said.
“Q1 was extremely busy and we delivered a number of commercial and regulatory successes during the quarter. Our two commercial products, Metreleptin and Lomitapide, continue to deliver solid growth across a host of metrics including revenue, ebitda growth, cash generation and market expansion,” he said.
Speaking of the proposed acquisition of Chiasma, which has a subsidiary in Israel, the Amryt chief executive said: "The combined company will be a global leader in rare and orphan diseases with three on-market commercial products, a global commercial and operational footprint and a significant development pipeline of therapies with the financial flexibility to execute its growth plans."
Amryt sells two drugs, Lomitapide – branded Lojuxta in the European Union – and Metreleptin, known as Myalepta, for treating cholesterol and similar conditions.
It also developing Oleogel-S10, a drug for treating a rare but distressing condition called epidermolysis bullosa, or butterfly skin, which affects children.