Novo Nordisk has agreed to acquire Inversago Pharma for up to 1.075 billion USD in cash if certain development and commercial milestones are achieved.
“The acquisition of Inversago Pharma will further strengthen our clinical development pipeline in obesity and related disorders,” says Martin Holst Lange, executive vice president for Development at Novo Nordisk. “This promising class of medicine pioneered by the Inversago team could lead to life-changing new treatment options for those living with a serious chronic disease and, in particular, may offer alternative or complementary solutions for people living with obesity.
Inversago Pharma is a private, Montreal-based developer of CB1 receptor-based therapies for the potential treatment of obesity, diabetes and complications associated with metabolic disorders.The acquisition of Inversago includes the company’s lead development asset INV-202, an oral CB1 inverse agonist. INV-202 is designed to preferentially block the receptor protein CB1 – which plays an important role in metabolism and appetite regulation – in peripheral tissues such as adipose tissues, the gastro-intestinal tract, the kidneys, liver, pancreas, muscles and lungs.
INV-202 demonstrated weight loss potential in a phase 1b trial and is currently in a phase 2 trial for diabetic kidney disease (DKD). Additional pipeline assets are also being developed for metabolic and fibrotic disorders. Novo Nordisk intends to investigate the potential of INV-202 for obesity and obesity-related complications.
CB1 plays an important role in appetite regulation and other cardiometabolic pathways. The mechanistic and preclinical therapeutic effects of peripheral CB1 receptor blocking are well-studied across a range of cardiometabolic and fibrotic diseases, supporting the potential treatment of many people with current unmet needs.
“We are delighted to join forces with a global leader in the obesity and metabolic disorder space,” says François Ravenelle, chief executive officer of Inversago Pharma. “We believe this combination will help unlock the full medical potential of our CB1 blockers and may one day expand treatment options for people living with metabolic syndrome, obesity and related complications. Novo Nordisk has world-class research facilities, significant global reach and a rich culture of collaboration seeking to bring our therapeutic treatments to market.”
Inversago employs 22 people, who will continue to focus on the completion of the ongoing and planned trials, while working closely with Novo Nordisk to drive Inversago’s technology forward in future clinical trials. The closing of the acquisition is subject to receipt of applicable regulatory approvals and other customary conditions and is expected to happen before the end of 2023.
Photo of Martin Holst Lange: Novo Nordisk