Healthcare Business

Agios Pharma's Big Bet on Anemia

The announcement that Agios Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: AGIO) will be streamlining its portfolio sent shares sharply higher early Monday. The company expects to accomplish this trim via the sale of its commercial, clinical and research-stage oncology portfolio to Servier. Agios will dedicate all its resources toward the advancement of its genetically defined disease portfolio.

Agios will receive a cash consideration of up to $2.0 billion for its cancer portfolio. That includes $1.8 billion in upfront cash and $200 million in a potential future milestone payment for vorasidenib. This comes in conjunction with 5% royalties on U.S. net sales of Tibsovo (ivosidenib tablets) from transaction close through the loss of exclusivity and 15% royalties on U.S. net sales of vorasidenib from first commercial sale through the loss of exclusivity.

Servier will also acquire Agios’s co-commercialization responsibilities for Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Idhifa (enasidenib) and conduct certain clinical development activities within this development program.

The transaction has been approved by the board of directors and is subject to approval by Agios shareholders and the satisfaction of regulatory conditions. The transaction is currently expected to close in the second quarter of 2021.

In terms of the direction that Agios takes after this sale, its genetically defined disease portfolio is anchored by its lead clinical candidate, mitapivat, which the company believes is a potential blockbuster across three distinct hemolytic anemias.

Currently, Agios is conducting two global, pivotal Phase 3 studies to evaluate mitapivat as a potential treatment for adults with pyruvate kinase deficiency. Mitapivat also is being evaluated in a fully enrolled Phase 2 study in adults with non-transfusion-dependent α- or β-thalassemia, and as a potential treatment for sickle cell disease.

Looking ahead to 2021, Agios expects to initiate global, pivotal Phase 3 studies in thalassemia, including both α- and β-thalassemia, as well as transfusion-dependent and non-transfusion-dependent patient populations, and in sickle cell disease.

Agios Pharmaceuticals stock traded up about 32% early Monday to $43.81, in a 52-week range of $27.77 to $56.75. The consensus price target is $62.75.