GSK confirms £250m deal to sell experimental drug to Dermavent Sciences


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British company GlaxoSmithKline have announced that it will sell the rights to its experimental dermatology drug, tapinarof, to Roivant Sciences’ subsidiary Dermavent Sciences, in a deal worth up to £250 million.

Dermavent made an initial payment of £150 million for the rights to tapinarof, with an agreed future milestone payment of an additional £100 million if the drug meets developmental targets. Upon completion of the deal, Dermavent will hold the global rights to the experimental drug in all countries except China.

Dr Mayukh Sukhatme, President of Roivant Pharma, commented that: “We are excited to partner with GSK as we pursue the rapid initiation of phase III development for tapinarof. It is the ideal drug to complement Dermavant’s existing pipeline of innovative therapies.”

The drug, which has been studied for its use in treating psoriasis and atopic dermatitis (eczema), demonstrated clinically meaningful results in treating adults with plaque psoriasis in a Phase IIb study involving 227 patients.

The drug also demonstrated efficacy in a separate double-blind placebo controlled phase IIb study of 247 patients with atopic dermatitis.

Dr Jackie Fouse, Executive Chair of Dermavant Sciences, said: “Tapinarof is an investigational therapy that has the potential to provide an important treatment option for psoriasis and atopic dermatitis, conditions affecting millions of patients around the world. This will be the cornerstone of Dermavant’s pipeline, and we are grateful for the opportunity to advance its development.”

The deal has come as GSK places tighter focus on core therapeutic areas. As expanded upon by GSK’s Senior Vice President, R&D pipeline John Lepore: “We have taken a strategic decision to divest or partner medicines in our R&D portfolio that are a better fit for other companies allowing us to concentrate our resources on other promising assets.”

Louis Goss