Thursday 28 November 2019 2:34 pm

Immupharma shares take off as firm signs US lupus deal

Specialist drug developer Immupharma rose almost 300 per cent today on the back of an exclusive US licensing deal for Lupuzor, its flagship treatment for autoimmune disease lupus.

The deal with Avion Pharmaceuticals will see Immupharma receive $70m (£54.1m) in milestone payments.

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Shares in the London-headquartered company skyrocketed on the back of the news, rising 284 per cent to 27p.

Avion will also pay Immupharma up to 16 per cent in royalties, as well as funding the costs of the new phase three trial up to $25m, targeted to commence in 2020 after the two agree with the US FDA on trial design.

Immupharma retains the rights to commercialise the drug outside of the US.

Chief executive Dimitri Dimitriou said Avion had a strong track record of taking late stage drugs through the regulatory process and onto commercialisation.

He added: “Importantly, Avion’s specialist sales team is well respected within the rheumatologist community, whose focus is on prescribing safe and efficacious treatments for auto-immune diseases such as lupus. This makes it a perfect fit for Lupuzor.”

Avion’s chief executive officer Art Deas said: “After in-depth due-diligence around Lupuzor, its mechanism of action and learnings within the initial phase three results, we believe that Lupuzor has a unique position within lupus that sets it apart from competition.

“We are delighted to be extending our footprint within this therapeutic area.”

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The US is the world’s largest market for lupus treatments, with approximately 1.5m patients suffering from the disease.

The Avion deal has rewarded Immupharma’s persistence with the drug, which missed its primary endpoint in a phase three study last year.