Sumitomo Dainippon and Roivant Close Deal to Form Sumitovant Biopharma


In September, Roivant Sciences, Vivek Ramaswamy’s umbrella biotech company, agreed to sell ownership of five of its Vant companies to Japan’s Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma for $3 billion. Sumitomo Dainippon also was buying an equity stake of more than 11% of Roivant shares.

The deal closed today and the holding company for the acquired companies has been formed with the name Sumitovant Biopharma.

The five Vant companies are Myovant Sciences, Urovant Sciences, Enzyvant Therapeutics, Altavant Sciences, and Spirovant Sciences. Spirovant is a new Vant that focuses on developing gene therapies for cystic fibrosis. Sumitovant Biopharma will be run by Myrtle Potter, a former Genentech executive who has been the operating chair of Roivant since July 2018.

In addition to Potter, other Roivant team members will move to the new entity. They include Adele Gulfo, Roivant’s chief of Commercial Development, Sam Azoulay, Roivant’s chief medical officer, and Dan Rothman, Roivant’s chief information officer.

Sumitovant will run as a wholly owned subsidiary of Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma. Sumitovant will offer strategic guidance and direct the operations of the proprietary technology platforms that Sumitomo Dainippon acquired that were developed by Roivant—DrugOme and Digital Innovation.

Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma also has options to acquire Roivant’s ownership interests in six more biopharma companies.

“At Sumitovant, our single aim is to make a difference in the lives of people globally by rapidly developing innovative medicines that are made even better by our technology-enabled approach to drug discovery, development and commercialization,” said Potter. “We value the strategic capabilities and know-how from Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma, with its rich legacy of blockbuster drugs like Latuda. Their support, coupled with the experience of our proven leadership team, positions Sumitovant to accelerate the pace of medical innovation for patients who need new treatment options today.”

Sumitovant will have offices in New York City and London, UK.

As Vant Operating Chair, Potter led the development of 35 investigational drugs in 11 therapeutic areas and over 50 clinical trials. These included four successful Phase III trials for lead compounds at Myovant and Urovant. Prior to Genentech, she was president at Bristol-Myers Squibb’s U.S. Cardiovascular and Metabolic business.

If Sumitomo options the other six companies, it will have acquired a pipeline of more than 25 clinical programs with multiple possible launches from 2020 to 2022. In addition to the $3 billion upfront fee, Sumitomo will offer a $350 million loan facility to Myovant to fund the launch of relugolix, its Phase III candidate for uterine fibroids if it is approved. The Japanese firm will also loan Urovant $200 million for its vibegron for overactive bladder.

Spirovant is working to develop two therapies for cystic fibrosis. SPIRO-2101 uses an adeno-associated virus vector (AAV), like most gene therapies, to deliver a functional l CFTR gene to airway epithelial cells. SPIRO-2102 uses a proprietary lentiviral vector to deliver the gene. In animal models, both have showed restoration of CFTR function. The company’s aerosolization technology is designed to maximize uptake in the lungs.

The two therapeutics leverage technology out of the University of Iowa Center for Gene Therapy at the Carver College of Medicine. Its collaboration with Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) was involved with the manufacture of the preclinical supply of the AAV products.

“I am pleased that we and Roivant have closed our important deal which comprises one of the strategic investments that we are making to address our challenges laid out in the Mid-term Business Plan 2022,” said Hiroshi Nomura, representative director, president and chief executive officer of Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma and chairman of the Sumitovant board of directors.

He added, “We are thrilled to have Sumitovant as one of the core growth engines of Sumitomo Dainippon. Sumitovant is headed by a proven leader in Myrtle Potter and has a strong pipeline of drug candidates for women’s health, urology, prostate cancer, and multiple rare diseases including cystic fibrosis. The closing of this deal now sets us squarely on a path to establish our position as ‘Global Specialized Player’ which we aspire to be in 2033.”

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