Novo Nordisk makes $1 billion acquisition agreement

Under a $1 billion acquisition agreement, Novo Nordisk A/S will investigate a potential first-in-class small molecule CB1 receptor blocker as a treatment for obesity.

Novo Nordisk makes $1 billion acquisition agreement

Novo Nordisk A/S has agreed to acquire Inversago Pharma for up to $1.075 billion.

Inversago Pharma is developing CB1 receptor-based therapies for the potential treatment of obesity, diabetes and complications associated with metabolic disorders.

What Novo Nordisk will gain from the acquisition

Through the acquisition agreement, the pharma company Novo Nordisk intends to investigate Inversago Pharma’s lead development asset, a potential first-in-class small molecule CB1 receptor (CB1r) blocker CB1 inverse agonist as a treatment for obesity and obesity-related complications.

Potential of INV-202

INV-202 is an oral CB1 inverse agonist. The receptor protein has an important role in metabolism and appetite regulation in peripheral tissues such as adipose tissues, kidneys, the gastro-intestinal tract, liver, pancreas, muscles and lungs.

According to Inversago Pharma, INV-202 demonstrated weight loss potential in its Phase Ib study.

In the company’s first-in-human trial for the treatment, data showed “the safety and tolerability, oral absorption, and pharmacokinetics of INV-202… supported rapid progression into a Phase II study.” A Phase II trial of INV-202 for diabetic kidney disease (DKD) is currently ongoing. Data has also shown the small molecule CB1r blocker illustrated capability for decreased appetite.

CB1 receptor-based therapies are a “promising class of medicine” according to Martin Holst Lange, Executive Vice President for Development at Novo Nordisk, who added that if future development is successful, it “could lead to life-changing new treatment options for those living with a serious chronic disease and, in particular, may offer alternative or complementary solutions for people living with obesity”.

François Ravenelle, Chief Executive Officer of Inversago Pharma commented on the acquisition agreement: “We are delighted to join forces with a global leader in the obesity and metabolic disorder space”.

Closing of the acquisition is subject to receipt of applicable regulatory approvals and other customary conditions and whether certain development and commercial milestones are achieved. The transaction between Novo Nordisk and Inversago is expected to occur before the close of 2023.

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