Karuna Plucks Goldfinch’s TRPC4/5 Assets for Anxiety, Mood Disorders

Financing Concept

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Karuna Therapeutics has acquired exclusive rights to Goldfinch Bio’s investigational transient receptor potential canonical 4 and 5 (TRPC4/5) channel candidates in a deal potentially worth $520 million.

Goldfinch will receive an upfront payment of $15 million with the opportunity for potential milestone payments plus royalties for each TRPC4/5 candidate developed by Karuna.

Karuna will receive global development, manufacturing and commercialization rights to the TRPC4/5 candidates, including GFB-887, currently in Phase II clinical development.  

Karuna expects to develop GFB-887 for the treatment of mood and anxiety disorders. The TRPC4/5 mechanism “could represent a completely novel approach to treating mood and anxiety disorders,” said Bill Meury, president and CEO, in a statement Thursday. 

The company is “encouraged” about the class’s potential to treat psychiatric conditions based on “pre-clinical and clinical data demonstrating anxiolytic and antidepressant properties,” said Steve Paul, M.D., president of research and development and chief scientific officer, in the same press release.

TRPC4/5 channels are involved in diverse functions of the brain, including the regulation of neuronal activity.

Researchers have suggested that targeting brain TRPs could be a useful approach to developing therapeutics for psychiatric and neurogenerative disorders.

GFB-887 was developed by Goldfinch to treat patients with kidney disease. The company announced positive results from the Phase II trial in February 2022.

The candidate led to clinically meaningful differences in the rate of disease progression in patients with focal segmental glomerular sclerosis (FSGS), a progressive kidney disease that leads to loss of kidney function and often, kidney failure. 

GFB-887 was safe and well-tolerated in patients treated in the trial, possibly offering Karuna a head-start in this area. 

Goldfinch officially shuttered its doors last week, citing difficulties securing additional financing.

Karuna anticipates sharing details of GFB-887’s development in the second half of 2023, according to the press release.

GFB-887 will fit in nicely with the company’s other efforts in the neuropsychiatric space.

Karuna’s KarXT is moving toward a New Drug Application. If approved, KarXT could be the first drug to treat the negative symptoms of schizophrenia. The company is aiming for a mid-2023 submission.

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