Uniquity Bio Emerges from Stealth with $300M from Blackstone, Targets Asthma and COPD

C-suite strategies

Pictured: Photo illustration of hundred dollar bill and graph/iStock, Darren415

Blackstone Life Sciences on Wednesday launched Uniquity Bio, a clinical-stage drug development company focused on immunology and inflammation, with a Phase II-ready therapeutic candidate. 

The private investment firm is promising up to $300 million in capital to advance Uniquity Bio’s Phase II investigational new drug application for solrikitug, a monoclonal antibody targeting TSLP that was in-licensed from Merck. Solrikitug prevents the binding of TSLP, a “master switch” cytokine at the top of the inflammatory cascade.  

Uniquity Bio is looking to test the monoclonal antibody across multiple respiratory and gastrointestinal indications. It has been approved by the FDA for clinical trials and will start a Phase II study in the next month for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma, which affects more than 260 million people globally. 

“We believe solrikitug has the potential to be a life-changing medication for a significant number of patients who currently have very limited treatment options, and we are excited to move into the next phase of development,” Uniquity Bio CEO Brian Lortie said in a statement. 

Kiran Reddy, senior managing director at Blackstone Life Sciences, in a statement said that Uniquity Bio’s launch with a Phase II-ready therapeutic “demonstrates our approach of providing expertise and scale capital to our portfolio companies to help them advance their mission—and medicines—as fast as possible.” 

In March 2024, Blackstone signed a $750 million deal with Moderna to advance its mRNA-based flu program and reduce the biopharma’s R&D expenses. The asset manager will be eligible for commercial milestone payments and low-single digit royalties on Moderna’s flu product sales.  

Blackstone focuses on lower-risk, potential blockbusters, according to Institutional Investor, and has an above-industry-average success rate for investing in products that gain FDA approval.  

While the COPD and asthma markets certainly hold blockbuster potential, Uniquity Bio’s monoclonal antibody won’t be without competition. The anti-TSLP market is currently held by Amgen and AstraZeneca with Tezspire, approved by the FDA in 2021 for severe asthma. Sales of the biologic were $173 million in the first quarter of 2024, an 80% increase compared to the same period last year.  

In January 2024, GSK announced a $1.4 billion deal to purchase Aiolos Bio for its potentially biannually administered TSLP-targeting monoclonal antibody, which has been validated in early clinical trials. 

Kate Goodwin is a freelance life science writer based in Des Moines, Iowa. She can be reached at kate.goodwin@biospace.com and on LinkedIn

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