Esperion Licenses Daiichi Cholesterol Drug for $300 Million

Jan 7, 2019 | Cardiovascular, Cholesterol

MarketWatch covered the up-to-date news of Esperion Therapeutics licensing out commercial rights in the European Economic Area and Switzerland for its experimental cholesterol-lowering therapy in a potentially $900 million deal with Daiichi Sankyo Europe (wholly owned subsidiary of the Japanese parent). The lipid management company plans to file drug applications for bempedoic acid in the first quarter of 2019 for the U.S. and in the second quarter for EMA. They expect an approval by 2020. Esperion will receive $150 million upfront and $150 million more upon first commercial sales in the territory. The pharma will also earn royalties between 15 percent and 25 percent along with potential sales and regulatory-based milestone payments totaling up to an additional $600 million.

Who is Esperion Therapeutics? A publicly traded American pharmaceutical company focused on the development of first-in-class, orally available, small molecule designed to significantly lower elevated levels of LDL-C —with the reduced potential for muscle-related side effects associated with statin use. The U.S. pharmaceutical company focused on the development of a first-in-class, orally available, small molecule designed to significantly lower elevated levels of LDL-C, with the reduced potential for muscle-related side effects associated with statin use. The company is headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Pfizer acquired the original Esperion in 2004 for $1.3 billion as a defensive move to prevent ETC-216 from falling into competitors’ hands. In 2006, Pfizer decided to kill the Esperion organization and development of ETC-216. In May 2018, Dr. Roger Newton (founder and CSO) raised the necessary capital to acquire the rights to ETC-1002 and Esperion from Pfizer-leading to the second independent period for the company. In June 2013, Esperion went public and traded on NASDQA as ESPR. The Daiichi deal is a much-needed cash infusion. A review of company finances via Yahoo Finance paints a bleak financial picture. There are no revenues with annual losses of nearly $200 million and only $159 million cash in the bank. With the Daiichi deal, Esperion can now focus to drive real commercial opportunity.

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