Allergan snaps up Motus for $200 million

Acquisitive Allergan has snapped up Motus Therapeutics for $200 million after the biotech’s stomach emptying drug produced promising mid-stage results.

In the phase 2b clinical trial, relamorelin, Motus’ ghrelin agonist, demonstrated substantial efficacy in common symptoms of diabetic gastroparesis – nausea, post-prandial fullness, abdominal pain and bloating.

Allergan is to exercise an option to buy Motus, and will pay the company’s owner, Rhythm Holding, $200 million.

Rhythm will also receive a payment upon first commercial sale of relamorelin. Allergan has already paid $47 million related to the Motus option, and the relamorelin phase 2b clinical trial.

The acquisition is expected to be completed by the end of 2016.

Results from the 393-patient trial showed the drug also helped with stomach emptying, although an unusually high placebo response for vomiting frequency, extending well beyond previous studies, limited the ability to demonstrate efficacy on a vomiting frequency endpoint.

The phase 2b trial was designed to evaluate the effect of relamorelin on the key signs and symptoms of gastroparesis identified in the draft FDA guidance for gastroparesis, as well as gastric emptying and safety in patients with moderate to severe diabetic gastroparesis and with symptoms of vomiting at baseline.

The randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled US and Europe-based study evaluated the safety and efficacy of dosing regimens ranging from 10 to 100 mcg administered twice daily over three months.

Motus said relamorelin was safe and well-tolerated in the phase 2b study with high compliance and completion rates over the course of the study.

But it added that there was some evidence of dose-related adverse events related to worsening of glycaemic control in some patients.

Full results are to be announced at a forthcoming scientific conference, the company said.

Allergan, cash rich after selling its generic division to Teva for $40 billion, most recently bought liver biotechs Tobira and Akarna.

Brent Saunders, Allergan’s CEO, said earlier this year the firm would use proceeds from the Teva deal to fund small acquisitions.


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