Biohaven Acquires Kv7 Ion Channel Platform for the Treatment of Epilepsy and Other Neurologic Disorders From Channel Biosciences, a Subsidiary of Knopp Biosciences
- Acquisition of next-generation Kv7 channel activators for target indications including epilepsy, pain disorders and affective disorders
NEW HAVEN, Conn., Feb. 25, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Biohaven Pharma Holding Company Ltd. (NYSE: BHVN; the "Company" or "Biohaven") announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Channel Biosciences, LLC, a subsidiary of Knopp Biosciences LLC, and its Kv7 channel targeting platform – adding the latest advances in ion-channel modulation to Biohaven's growing neuroscience portfolio. The Kv7 platform has been developed and refined for over a decade by a team with deep experience in ion channel science led by Michael Bozik, M.D., and Steven Dworetzky, Ph.D. Both leaders, along with members of their scientific team, are anticipated to join Biohaven as part of the transaction, further bolstering the discovery and translational expertise at Biohaven Labs.
The lead asset, BHV-7000 (formerly known as KB-3061), is a potent activator of Kv7.2/Kv7.3, key subunits involved in neuronal signaling and in regulating the hyperexcitable state in epilepsy. The acquisition of BHV-7000 and the Kv7 channel-targeting series demonstrates Biohaven's continued commitment to neurology and to meeting the unmet needs of these patients. Biohaven intends to bring BHV-7000 to the clinic in 2022, with focal epilepsy as the lead indication for development.
Vlad Coric, M.D., Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Biohaven, stated, "With this transaction, we have added one of the most innovative and exciting therapeutic targets for epilepsy to Biohaven's portfolio. This technology platform is poised to deliver new treatment options for patients suffering from epilepsy and, if ultimately approved, will be synergistic with our existing commercial sales force already calling upon neurologists who also may treat patients with seizures. We are excited to welcome Mike, Steven and members of the Kv7 team into the Biohaven family and look forward to working with them to accelerate this platform to benefit patients."
Michael Bozik, M.D., Chief Executive Officer of Channel Biosciences and its parent, Knopp Biosciences, commented, "Kv7 modulators have demonstrated clear efficacy in the clinic but have been limited by off-target effects. Our team has developed a portfolio of what we believe are potentially best-in-class Kv7 modulators to deliver novel therapies across several different indications. We are proud that Biohaven recognizes the potential of this platform—Biohaven was the clear partner of choice, given their demonstrated leadership in neurology and excellence in both developing and commercializing paradigm-shifting treatments for patients."
Epilepsy affects approximately 3.5 million Americans, or more than 1.2% of adults and 0.6% of children, and more than 50 million patients worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. It is the fourth most common neurological disorder, and many patients struggle to achieve seizure freedom, with more than a third of patients requiring two or more medications to manage their epilepsy. While the use of anti-seizure medications is often accompanied by dose-limiting side effects, BHV-7000 is specifically designed to target potassium channels without engagement of GABA receptors. The lack of GABA activity potentially gives BHV-7000 a wide therapeutic window and is expected to result in an improved side effect profile, limiting the somnolence and fatigue so often seen in patients receiving anti-seizure medications. By adding BHV-7000 to its pipeline, Biohaven aims to bring this novel potassium channel modulator as a solution to patients who remain uncontrolled on their current regimen.
Irfan Qureshi, M.D., Vice President of Neurology at Biohaven, commented, "The Kv7 channel platform is highly complementary to Biohaven's existing neurology pipeline and expands our potential to serve patients. We know Kv7 is a clinically validated target for focal epilepsy, and BHV-7000's unique profile is particularly exciting. Preclinical data suggest it offers the potential for significant reductions in seizure frequency without the troublesome side effects associated with other anti-seizure medications."
Members of the Channel Biosciences' scientific team will join and complement the discovery expertise at Biohaven Labs, adding world-leading ion channel scientists and driving its mission for bringing novel medicines to patients facing neurologic and neuropsychiatric diseases. This team includes CEO Dr. Bozik, a neuroscience clinician who was part of the leadership team at Bristol Myers Squibb that brought Abilify through to New Drug Approval, and Chief Scientific Officer, Steven Dworetzky, Ph.D., who cloned and discovered the KCNQ 2, 3, and 5 genes (now called Kv7.2, 7.3, and 7.5), and who has authored numerous patents and publications in this area.
Dr. Dworetzky commented, "The selection of BHV-7000 as the lead asset to enter the clinic is based upon its superior potency for Kv7.2/Kv7.3 and wide therapeutic margin compared to other compounds. We are excited to join Biohaven to accelerate clinical development of BHV-7000 and other drug candidates from our ion channel platform."
Terms of the Arrangement
About Knopp Biosciences LLC
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