Rare Daily Staff

Aristea Therapeutics, a company focused on developing novel therapies to treat serious inflammatory orphan diseases, and Arena Pharmaceuticals entered a strategic collaboration to advance the clinical development of RIST4721, an oral CXCR2 antagonist being developed by Aristea for the treatment of palmoplantar pustulosis and other neutrophil-mediated diseases.

Under the terms of their agreement, Arena will provide a $60 million upfront payment to Aristea and a $10 million equity investment in Aristea’s series B financing. In return, Aristea has granted Arena an exclusive option to acquire Aristea, including rights to all CXCR2 programs, upon completion of the Phase 2b study of RIST4721 in PPP. The agreement also provides a framework during the option period for the companies to jointly explore the development of additional neutrophil-mediated diseases, including hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), potentially generating multiple data readouts during the option period.

Separately, Aristea said it closed a $63 million series B financing led by Fidelity Management & Research Company, with participation by existing investor Novo Holdings and new investors Arena Pharmaceuticals and funds managed by Tekla Capital Management.

“The collaboration and option agreement with Aristea provides Arena with an opportunity to bolster our early- to mid-stage immunology pipeline in two of our core therapeutic areas, dermatology and gastroenterology,” said Amit Munshi, president and CEO of Arena Pharmaceuticals.

Aristea was a spin-out from AstraZeneca in 2018 with Novo Holdings as the founding investor and it is committed to addressing significant unmet medical needs in orphan diseases for which there are currently no approved therapies. Lead candidate RIST4721 is an oral CXCR2 antagonist being developed for the treatment of palmoplantar pustulosis (PPP) with results reported from its phase 2a clinical trial in 2020. PPP is a debilitating condition that is characterized by repeated flares of sterile neutrophil-filled pustules that lead to redness and thickening on the palms of the hands and/or the soles of the feet and associated pain, itching, and burning sensations. CXCR2 plays important roles in neutrophil recruitment to inflammatory sites and represents a promising therapeutic target for the treatment of neutrophil-mediated inflammatory diseases. Later this year, Aristea is initiating a phase 2b study to investigate RIST4721 in PPP and plans to expand development into two additional orphan indications, familial Mediterranean fever (FMF) and Behcet’s disease.

“This collaboration reflects Arena’s commitment to Aristea’s highly innovative science, the significant progress we have made in exploring best-in-class therapeutics for serious and rare inflammatory diseases, and the value of our clinical pipeline,” said James Mackay, CEO of Aristea Therapeutics. “There are currently no approved therapies for PPP in United States or the European Union. Our lead candidate product, RIST4721, has completed a phase 2a study and it is on track to initiate phase 2b. We look forward to our productive collaboration with Arena and to accelerating the development of RIST4721 to bring this therapy to patients.”

Photo: James Mackay, CEO of Aristea Therapeutics

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