Jazz Inks $770M Deal with GSK Spinout Autifony, Nabs Two Neuro Assets

Pictured: A neurosurgeon analyzes an MRI/iStock, gorodenkoff

Pictured: A neurosurgeon analyzes an MRI/iStock, gorodenkoff 

GSK spinout Autifony Therapeutics has entered into an exclusive global licensing deal potentially worth $770.5 million with Jazz Pharmaceuticals for two different ion channel targets associated with neurological disorders.

Under the deal announced on Tuesday, the U.K.-based biotech Autifony will receive an undisclosed upfront payment from Jazz and is eligible to receive development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments as well as royalties on any future net sales.

Autifony, which is focused on developing treatments for central nervous system disorders and other brain diseases, will spearhead the drug discovery and the preclinical development of the two ion channel targets. Prior to the completion of preclinical development, Jazz will take over clinical development and assume responsibility for manufacturing, regulatory actions and commercialization.

“Jazz has an exceptional track record of rapidly advancing neuroscience development programs and effectively commercializing novel therapies that offer improvements over current standards of care. These programs have the potential to bring ground-breaking benefits to patients in a range of indications,” Autifony CEO Charles Large said in a statement.

While few details were provided in Tuesday’s announcement on the two assets, ion channels are key in physiological functions such as nerve and muscle activity. Diseases in these channels are associated with gene mutations and targeting them provides good targets for precision medicines, according to Autifony. 

The British biotech is no stranger to large deals. Since spinning off from GSK in 2011, the company has maintained an equity stake. Autifony also received funding from Pfizer Ventures in June 2018 when the pharma put over $600 million into its capital venture fund in an effort to expand Pfizer’s reach into early-stage companies. 

Autifony has also been a part of some significant deals in Europe. In December 2017, Boehringer Ingelheim and Autifony agreed to the German pharma acquiring the license to a schizophrenia drug, known as Kv3.1/3.2, in a deal worth up to €627.5 million ($679 million). The drug is an orally active small molecule that was being evaluated in schizophrenia patients at the time.

Meanwhile, Jazz hasn’t been active in the deal space this year. In October 2022, the pharma spent $50 million upfront to license Zymeworks’s bispecific antibody targeting HER2. 

Tyler Patchen is a staff writer at BioSpace. You can reach him at tyler.patchen@biospace.com. Follow him on LinkedIn.

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