Rare Daily Staff

Rare disease drug developer VectivBio is expanding its pipeline with a definitive agreement to acquire Comet Therapeutics, a biotechnology company developing a small molecule platform for the treatment of a large group of rare inherited metabolic diseases.

Under the terms of the agreement, VectivBio will acquire Comet Therapeutics in exchange for equity and cash payable at closing, as well as additional equity or cash payments upon the achievement of certain specified future development milestones. The board of directors of both companies have unanimously approved the transaction, which is expected to close by the end of September 2021, subject to customary closing conditions.

Inherited metabolic diseases (IMDs) are severe rare genetic disorders caused by congenital defects of metabolism fundamental to energy generation and the survival of cells, affecting more than 75,000 patients in the United States and Europe. In addition to disrupted energy production and the accumulation of toxic metabolites, these defects cause dysregulation of CoA, a core component of many metabolic pathways. As a result, IMDs are often fatal or highly life-impairing conditions that primarily affect children and currently have limited effective treatment options. VectivBio believes that the modular CoMET platform holds the potential to treat a wide variety of rare metabolic diseases by generating medicines that restore cellular metabolism.

The foundation of Comet’s proprietary technology is a stabilized CoA precursor backbone that has been shown in preclinical studies to supply functional CoA and carry tailored intermediary metabolite cargos. The modular technology targets multiple groups of IMDs that share a common metabolic pathway, independent of underlying genetic mutation. These include severe life-threatening disorders such as methylmalonic acidemia and propionic acidemia. Importantly, in preclinical studies, this technology has demonstrated the ability to provide both CoA and intermediate metabolites to all relevant organ systems affected by IMDs, including the liver, muscle, and brain, thus bearing the potential to overcome some of the delivery limitations of other therapeutic approaches currently in development.

“The acquisition of the CoMET platform is in line with our core mission of developing disease-modifying treatments for rare severe diseases,” said Luca Santarelli, founder and CEO of VectivBio. “The platform’s potential to deliver a pipeline of medicines that target the fundamental molecular pathophysiology of IMDs by unlocking previously inaccessible pathways, would provide us with the opportunity to transform the lives of these patients. We are eager to begin work on our new programs and look forward to progressing our first candidate towards the clinic.”

Currently, VectivBio has four distinct programs in the preclinical research stage, with plans to enter the clinic with the first program in the next 18 months. It’s lead candidate, apraglutide, is a next-generation GLP-2 analog being developed as a differentiated therapeutic for a range of rare gastrointestinal diseases that is being evaluated in a global phase 3 clinical trial as a once-weekly treatment for short bowel syndrome with intestinal failure.

Photo: Luca Santarelli, founder and CEO of VectivBio

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