RARE Daily

Horizon Acquires Curzion and Its Late-Stage Candidate for Rare Rheumatic Disease

April 2, 2020

Rare Daily Staff

Horizon Therapeutics said that it has acquired Curzion Pharmaceuticals, a privately held biopharmaceutical company with a late-stage experimental therapy for diffuse cutaneous systemic sclerosis, a rare rheumatic disease, for $45 million and potential milestones payments.

Diffuse cutaneous systemic sclerosis (dcSSc) is an autoimmune disease marked by fibrosis, or skin thickening, in areas including hands, forearms, upper arms and thighs. Compared with limited forms of the disease, people with dcSSc are often at a higher risk of internal organ involvement, including interstitial lung disease, kidney, and bowel disease. The U.S. prevalence of dcSSc is approximately 30,000 and the disease carries one of the highest mortality rates among rheumatic diseases. There are no U.S. FDA-approved treatments for dcSSc.

Curzion has been developing an oral selective lysophosphatidic acid 1 receptor (LPAR1) antagonist, CZN001. Horizon has renamed it HZN-825. CZN001 was originally discovered and developed by Sanofi, which is eligible to receive contingent payments upon the achievement of development and commercialization milestones and royalties based on revenue thresholds.

“This acquisition is one of several transactions we intend to make that directly aligns with our strategy to expand our development-stage pipeline, with a focus on our core therapeutic areas of rheumatology, nephrology, endocrinology and ophthalmology,” said Tim Walbert, chairman, president and chief executive officer, Horizon. “We look forward to meeting with regulatory authorities to define the development pathway for HZN-825 to potentially offer help to those who are impacted by this devastating disease.”

In five phase 1 trials conducted by Sanofi, HZN-825 was safe and well tolerated. A short-term exploratory phase 2a study of HZN-825 in dcSSc was completed and showed evidence of potential clinical benefit in this patient population. The company said longer studies are required to fully demonstrate the potential benefits of HZN-825 in this disease.

Horizon plans to begin a pharmacokinetic study in 2020 and meet with the FDA to inform the phase 2b pivotal study, which is expected to begin in the first half of 2021.

Photo: Tim Walbert, chairman, president and chief executive officer, Horizon

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