RARE Daily

Arrowhead and Vivo Capital Launch Joint Venture in China to Develop RNAi-Based Therapies

April 25, 2022

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals and global healthcare investment firm Vivo Capital have formed a joint venture, Visirna Therapeutics, to expand the reach of innovative medicines in Greater China.

Arrowhead granted Visirna exclusive rights to develop and commercialize four of Arrowhead’s investigational RNA interference (RNAi) therapeutics for cardiometabolic diseases in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. Funds affiliated with Vivo provided initial funding of $60 million to Visirna and Vivo will leverage its network in Greater China to support Visirna, particularly in recruiting Visirna’s leadership team and actively engaging in corporate development, clinical, and regulatory strategies in the region.

Arrowhead has a majority stake in Visirna after accounting for shares reserved for the employee stock ownership plan and is further eligible to receive potential royalties on commercial sales.

“Greater China is an important region for global pharmaceutical products broadly, and specifically for medicines that treat cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. We believe that the best way to get important new medicines to patients in China as quickly and effectively as possible is to have a dedicated entity with its own management and development staff that understand and are solely focused on the intricacies of China’s clinical, regulatory, and commercial environment,” said Christopher Anzalone, president and CEO of Arrowhead. “We believe this structure will allow us to maximize the value of key Arrowhead assets, without losing focus on our core business opportunities.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Visirna receives an exclusive license to develop and commercialize four undisclosed investigational RNAi therapeutics targeting cardiovascular and metabolic diseases in Greater China. Visirna will be wholly responsible for clinical development and commercialization of the licensed products in these territories with Arrowhead eligible to receive royalties on net commercial product sales. Arrowhead also received the right to appoint members to the Visirna board of directors. Visirna will be headquartered in Shanghai, and recruitment of management and development staff is currently underway.

“Anchored by these four assets in an advanced development stage, Visirna will be well positioned to be a leading nucleic acid therapeutics platform company and further build its competitive advantage via internal R&D and strategic acquisitions of additional products,” said Hongbo Lu, managing partner of Vivo Capital.

Hongbo Lu and Gaurav Aggarwal, managing director of Vivo Capital, will join the Visirna board.

Author: Rare Daily Staff

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