HI-Bio acquired by Biogen in $1.8bn deal

Biogen is set to acquire Jeito Capital company HI-Bio, a clinical-stage portfolio biotechnology company focused on targeted therapies for patients with severe immune-mediated diseases (IMDs), for $1.15 billion upfront and up to $650 million in potential milestone payments.

HI-Bio™, is a San Francisco-based Phase II clinical-stage biopharma company with clinical development in Europe and the US. The company has several late-stage clinical development programs for felzartamab, its lead clinical therapeutic candidate, which are aimed at the treatment of four indications of severe immune-mediated diseases (antibody-mediated rejection (AMR), IgA nephropathy (IgAN), lupus nephritis (LN) and primary membranous nephropathy (PMN)).

Jeito significantly invested in HI-Bio™ first in November 2022, through participation in a $120 million Series A financing round and followed that with subsequent, significant investment in the $95 million Series B financing in January 2024. These financing rounds were made with other well-known investors in the life sciences industry: Alpha Wave Global, ARCH Venture Partners, Arkin Bio Capital, Monograph Capital and Viking Global Investors.

Thanks to the steady strategic and operational support facilitated by Jeito’s investment, HI-Bio™,  has made significant steps in advancing its clinical studies for felzartamab in three indications, including Phase 2 studies completed in Primary Membranous Nephropathy (PMN) and Antibody-Mediated Rejection (AMR) in kidney transplant patients and one still on-going in IgA nephropathy (IgAN). HI-Bio™ has expanded its lead asset into a fourth indication (Lupus Nephritis with a Phase 1b study currently underway) and initiated a clinical development for a second asset, izastobart, an anti-C5aR1 antibody, which is now in a Phase 1 trial in healthy volunteers.

Based on this clinical progress, HI-Bio™ has plans to advance felzartamab into Phase 3 in a potentially transformative therapeutic approach for severe kidney immune-mediated diseases.

In October 2023, felzartamab received Breakthrough Therapy Designation and Orphan Drug Designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of primary membranous nephropathy (PMN) and received Orphan Drug Designation in March 2024 from the FDA for the treatment of antibody mediated rejection (AMR) in kidney transplant recipients.

Rachel Mears, Partner at Jeito Capital and HI-Bio™ board member, shared: “I would like first to congratulate the HI-Bio™ team on their incredible journey and the value-creation milestones they achieved. Our steady support since Jeito’s initial investment in 2022, reflects our team’s commitment to mobilizing funding when needed and contributing strategic expertise alongside HI-Bio™’s talented management for the development of breakthrough therapies for patients with severe immune-mediated diseases, many of whom have inadequate treatment options today. This acquisition marks the beginning of a new phase in HI-Bio™’s growth as they combine with Biogen, and I would like to wish the whole team continued success in the future.”

Dr. Rafaèle Tordjman, MD, PhD, Founder and CEO of Jeito Capital, added: “This major exit demonstrates the relevance of our unique and differentiated investment strategy and patient-driven approach. Our focus on investing in highly promising innovative biopharma companies combined with a strong expertise in maximizing these companies’ potential are our key assets to create value, meet the Big Pharma’s strong demand for breakthrough innovations and go faster to get therapies to the patient. With the strong new support of Biogen, a leading global biotechnology company, HI-Bio™ will benefit from deep resources and leading expertise to accelerate its clinical programs and achieve new momentum. I would like to congratulate the entire team for their talent and great achievements.”

Travis Murdoch, M.D., CEO of HI-Bio™ said: “With its deep development and commercialization capabilities, Biogen is in a position to accelerate the development of new medicines, including felzartamab, for patients with severe immune-mediated diseases. We are excited to combine the HI-Bio™ team’s expertise with Biogen’s global footprint.”

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