Akcea Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: AKCA) and Ionis Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: IONS) announced an exclusive license between the two to commercialize inotersen and hATTR in a transaction valued up to $1.7 billion. Akcea shares surged by as high as $28.87, marking a 5-month high.
The transaction will strengthen both companies position to be able to launch inotersen upon approval by leveraging commercial preparations carried out by Ionis along with Akcea’s commercial infrastructure and capabilities
The combined team is looking to launch inotersen in the U.S. and Europe following approvals which are expected in mid-2018. Inotersen is a treatment used in people with hereditary transthyretin amyloidosis or hATTR, which can be fatal.
"This collaboration reflects our ever-increasing confidence in the value of inotersen and exemplifies our strategy to use commercial affiliates to commercialize our drugs, keeping the core of Ionis focused on innovation and our antisense pipeline. This collaboration will allow the combined Ionis-Akcea team to rapidly deliver inotersen to the patients who desperately need this treatment," said Stanley Crooke, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Ionis.
"We are confident inotersen can provide hope for people with hATTR by giving them greater freedom and control over their disease.” said Sarah Boyce, currently Ionis' chief business officer, who will join Akcea as the new President.