Pfizer has acquired 15% equity interest in Vivet for $51m (€45m) and secured an option to acquire all outstanding shares of the gene therapy biotech for up to $635.8m following delivery of Phase I/II clinical trial data for VTX-801.
A spokesperson for Pfizer told us that Vivet will submit the investigational new drug application (IND) in the first quarter of 2020. Pfizer will provide updates after the IND filing, as the drug moves into the study “hoping to get relevant data within a classical Phase I/II dose escalating study in gene therapy.”
VTX-801 is Vivet’s adeno-associated virus (AAV) gene therapy treatment for Wilson disease, a rare, chronic, and life-threatening liver disorder that causes copper poisoning.
Under the agreement, Pfizer is co-developing VTX-801, which contains Vivet’s proprietary mini-ATP7B copper transporter to target the liver and restore copper homeostasis.
Seng Cheng, senior VP and chief scientific officer of Pfizer’s rare disease research unit, said in a statement, “VTX-801 could provide a potentially transformative therapeutic option for patients with Wilson disease by addressing the underlying cause of the disease – the inability to excrete copper owing to a mutation in the gene that codes for that function.”
Current therapies for Wilson disease like penicillamine and trientine are heavy metal toxicity drugs.
Vivet is also advancing treatments for liver-directed gene therapy programs for progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis.