Incyte to acquire Escient Pharmaceuticals

Incyte and Escient Pharmaceuticals, a clinical-stage drug discovery and development company advancing novel small molecule therapeutics for systemic immune and neuro-immune disorders, have entered into a definitive agreement under which Incyte has agreed to acquire Escient, including EP262, a first-in-class, potent, highly selective, once-daily small molecule antagonist of Mas-related G protein-coupled receptor X2 (MRGPRX2) and EP547, a first-in-class oral MRGPRX4 antagonist.

“As a company dedicated to innovation and the discovery of transformative medicines, we are excited to add EP262 and EP547 to our portfolio. This acquisition builds on our strategy to develop differentiated and first-in-class medicines with high potential,” said Hervé Hoppenot, Chief Executive Officer, Incyte. “EP262 and EP547 are complementary additions to our portfolio, providing an opportunity to leverage our expertise, address the needs of patients with inflammatory diseases and additional potential launch opportunities starting in 2029.”

By blocking MRGPRX2 and degranulation of mast cells, EP262 has the potential to effectively treat multiple mast cell-mediated diseases including atopic dermatitis (AD), chronic inducible urticaria (CIndU) and chronic spontaneous urticaria (CSU). Preclinical studies presented at the American Academy of Dermatology annual meeting in March 2023 showed that EP262 improved AD-like skin lesions and markers of type 2 inflammation.

Additionally, in a Phase 1 study of 64 healthy volunteers, EP262 was safe and well tolerated at all doses tested, with no serious or severe adverse events, no adverse events leading to discontinuation and no clinically meaningful adverse changes in safety laboratory parameters, vital signs or ECG parameters. Treatment-emergent adverse events for EP262 were mild, with an incidence that was lower than placebo (33.3% vs. 62.5%) and did not increase with dose.

“These drug candidates are the result of the highly innovative research performed by Escient’s employees and scientific collaborators,” said Joshua A. Grass, President and Chief Executive Officer, Escient. “With its experienced development and commercial teams in Inflammation and Autoimmunity and portfolio of commercial and development stage products, Incyte is well positioned to translate this new science into valuable medicines for patients.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Incyte will acquire Escient and its assets for $750 million plus Escient’s net cash remaining at the close of the transaction, subject to customary adjustments.

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