Medical Innovation Exchange

Abandoned by Amgen, Cy­to­ki­net­ics lands deal for Chinese rights to heart failure prospect

Cy­to­ki­net­ics has found another company that still sees a future for its heart failure prospect omecamtiv mecarbil. After losing partnerships with Amgen and Servier in quick succession, Cy­to­ki­net­ics has sold the Chinese rights to the candidate to Ji Xing Pharmaceuticals.

The wheels came off Cy­to­ki­net­ics’ strategy for getting omecamtiv mecarbil to market around one year ago, when Amgen and Servier returned rights to the drug candidate in the wake of a phase 3 trial that hit its primary endpoint but failed against key secondary measures including mortality. Cy­to­ki­net­ics vowed to push ahead and file for FDA approval by the end of the year but even it adjusted its plans for the drug.

With Cy­to­ki­net­ics taking the candidate forward in the U.S., the California-based company has once again turned to Ji Xing to access the Chinese market. Ji Xing secured rights to another Cy­to­ki­net­ics’ prospect, CK-274, last year and has now returned to the deal table to take omecamtiv mecarbil forward in China.

Like in the CK-274 deal, Ji Xing has brought its backer RTW Investments to the party. Ji Xing is set to pay $50 million in upfront and near-term payments for the greater China rights to omecamtiv mecarbil in heart failure with reduced ejection fraction. RTW is putting up a further $20 million through a purchase of stock, leading Cy­to­ki­net­ics to say the deal is worth $70 million in committed capital.

RELATED: With Amgen out of the picture, Cytokinetics imagines supporting role for omecamtiv

Cy­to­ki­net­ics could pocket a further $330 million from Ji Xing, plus royalties, if the deal hits all of its milestones. Ji Xing has committed the cash in the belief it can carve out a space for omecamtiv mecarbil in China.     

“Despite the advancement of heart failure treatments in China, patients continue to need novel therapies to reduce the risk of disease. With the addition of omecamtiv mecarbil to our growing cardiovascular pipeline, we have the opportunity to potentially bring a much needed, novel heart failure medicine to patients in Greater China,” Ji Xing CEO Joseph Romanelli said in a statement.

For Cy­to­ki­net­ics, the deal continues the recovery from the slump it entered into when the phase 3 data dropped. The stock is up more than 90% over the past year, rising to around $40, because of news such as the delivery of midphase data on CK-274.

Nick Paul

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