Allergan buys Bonti and its Botox successor, as biosimilar looms

Allergan has bought the privately-held biotech Bonti, which has been developing a fast-acting, short duration replacement alternative to Botox ahead of potentially cheaper competition from a biosimilar next year.

Botox (onabotulinumtoxinA) is used in a variety of therapeutic indications as well as for cosmetic reasons and generated around $555 million for Allergan in its cosmetic and therapeutic uses in the last quarter alone.

But Botox is off-patent and therefore vulnerable to competition from biosimilars, which are cheaper near-copies of biologic drugs.

However, no-one has yet managed to get a biosimilar approved by the FDA – US biotech Evolus had its filing for DWP-450 rejected by the regulator earlier this year because of manufacturing issues.

The biotech resubmitted its filing in August and expects a launch in Spring next year if the FDA review is successful, although the biotech is currently only targeting the smaller aesthetics market.

The acquisition could provide Allergan with a riposte to the competitor in the aesthetics market – there are around 65 million consumers who are considering facial injectable treatments, including some who may be interested in being treated with a faster acting shorter-duration product.

Allergan will acquire California-based Bonti for an upfront payment of $195 million and additional potential commercial milestone payments, subject to certain adjustments and other customary closing conditions.

Following completion of the acquisition, Allergan will obtain global rights to Bonti’s pipeline consisting of two botulinum neurotoxin serotype E (BoNT/E) programmes currently in phase 2 development, EB-001A (aesthetic) and EB-001T (therapeutic).

The active ingredient in both programmes, EB-001, is a novel botulinum neurotoxin serotype E (BoNT/E) with a unique clinical profile, characterised by a rapid onset of action within 24 hours and a 2 to 4-week duration of effect.

Bonti recently announced topline results of the first clinical study of EB-001 in glabellar frown lines. The study confirmed both the safety and efficacy of the differentiated profile.

Brent Saunders

Brent Saunders, chairman and CEO of Allergan, said: “The acquisition of Bonti is a strategic investment for the future of our medical aesthetics business and has the potential to enhance our best-in-class medical aesthetics pipeline.

“With the medical aesthetics market vastly expanding, a fast-acting neurotoxin with a two to four-week duration will be an attractive option for consumers, particularly those who are considering a medical aesthetics treatment for the first time.”


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