News Feature | April 29, 2014

Hyperion Acquires Andromeda Biotech, Widens Orphan Disease Pipeline

By Estel Grace Masangkay

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Hyperion Therapeutics announced that it is acquiring Andromeda Biotech, an Israel-based subsidiary of Clal Biotechnology Industries.

Andromeda Biotech is focused on developing DiaPep277 for an orphan indication for new onset Type 1 diabetes. DiaPep277 is a first-in-class immune intervention therapy for new onset T1D under evaluation in a confirmatory Phase 3 clinical study in adult patients. Results of the Phase III study are expected to be released in the first quarter of 2015.

Shlomo Dagan, CEO of Andromeda Biotech, said, “Our team is excited to combine our deep knowledge of DiaPep277 with Hyperion's expertise in developing and commercializing orphan therapies to address significant medical needs. If the second Phase 3 study is positive, DiaPep277 could play an important role in immune intervention of Type 1 diabetes, as patients who have even modest preservation of pancreatic beta cell activity could achieve better control of their blood sugar and a reduced risk of long-term diabetes complications.”

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that leads to permanent destruction of beta cells, resulting in the loss of glycemic control. Presently, insulin replacement therapy is the only approved therapy for Type 1 diabetes. An estimated 35,000 new cases of T1D are diagnosed across the U.S. and Europe every year.

DiaPep277 is a 24-amino acid peptide derived from human heat shock protein 60 (hsp60), which has demonstrated a beneficial effect on the auto-immune attack of pancreatic beta cells observed in patients with Type 1 diabetes.

The investigational treatment preserves endogenous insulin secretion by selectively inducing anti-inflammatory T-cells and impeding beta cell destruction without negatively impacting other essential immunological functions or causing systemic immune suppression.

Donald J. Santel, president and CEO of Hyperion, said that this acquisition will be key to meeting an urgent unmet health need. “The acquisition of Andromeda Biotech is a transformative event for Hyperion. We believe DiaPep277 has the potential to become a highly differentiated, first-in-class medicine for an orphan indication with a significant unmet need. With the successful commercialization of RAVICTI well under way, DiaPep277 adds an attractive late-stage asset to our portfolio, while we continue development of glycerol phenylbutyrate for hepatic encephalopathy.”

Andromeda will receive $12.5 million in cash from Hyperion, adjusted for expenses incurred from the transaction. Hyperion will gain over 300,000 shares of Hyperion common stock valued at $7.85 million. The company will also make contingent payments to Andromeda security holders.