Rare Daily Staff

Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma and Roivant Sciences have entered into a memorandum of understanding to create a broad alliance that will give the Japanese pharmaceutical company ownership interest in five Roivant companies and options to acquire six additional ones for $3 billion upfront.

Roivant has pursued an innovative business model that has involved creating subsidiaries that can act like nimble, entrepreneurial biotechs, but use a centralized approach for talent, technology, R&D, and commercialization to drive efficiency. That company today has 20 so-called “Vants” with 45 experimental drugs in clinical and preclinical development including the rare disease vants Enzyvant Therapeutics and Altavant Sciences, which are part of the memorandum.

The broad agreement is expected to include more than 25 clinical programs and multiple potential product launches through 2022, as well as access to Roivant’s proprietary technology platforms. Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma will also take more than a 10 percent equity stake in Roivant.

“Sumitomo Dainippon’s expertise in commercializing major products globally, combined with support from our technology-oriented Vants and the central Roivant platform, will enhance the value of the product portfolio included in this alliance,” said Vivek Ramaswamy, founder and CEO of Roivant. “We view this partnership as a major validation of the Roivant platform and we will continue to launch other innovative Vants in the future.”

The memorandum calls for the creation of a new entity to be wholly owned by Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma, which is expected to assume Roivant’s ownership interests in Myovant Sciences (women’s health and prostate cancer), Urovant Sciences (urinary diseases), Enzyvant Therapeutics (pediatric rare diseases), Altavant Sciences (respiratory rare diseases), and one additional company to be specified before the execution of the definitive agreement. Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma will also gain options to acquire Roivant’s ownership interests in up to six additional biopharmaceutical Vants. These 11 Vants collectively have more than 25 innovative clinical programs, with multiple potential product launches expected from 2020 to 2022.

Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma plans to support the Vants in the alliance by leveraging the potential benefits of scale and other advantages associated with its global commercial infrastructure such as market access and drug distribution. Roivant also plans to continue to support the six vants subject to the option. Sumitomo Dainippon and Roivant will further collaborate with the goal of successfully progressing each of the Vants’ ongoing programs.

Roivant and Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma expect to sign the definitive agreement by the end of October 2019. The transaction will be subject to customary closing conditions and any required governmental approvals.

Photo: Vivek Ramaswamy, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Roivant. 

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