Ergonex Pharma GmbH, a German drug developer backed by VC firm High Tech Beteiligungen, has agreed to sell Terguride, a potential treatment for pulmonary arterial hypertension, to Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE). The deal is structured with milestone payments, although financial terms were not disclosed.
Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) and Ergonex Pharma GmbH announced today that they have entered into an agreement under which Pfizer will acquire terguride, which is in development as a potential treatment for Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH). Under the terms of the agreement, Pfizer will support the completion of the ongoing Phase 2 trial for terguride and will have exclusive worldwide rights excluding Japan to commercialize terguride for the treatment of PAH. Ergonex will be eligible to receive milestone payments and royalties on the sales of terguride for PAH.
Terguride is an oral, potent antagonist of 5-HT2B and 5-HT2A (serotonin) receptors. Serotonin stimulates the proliferation of pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells, and induces fibrosis in the wall of pulmonary arteries. Together, this causes vascular remodeling and narrowing of the pulmonary arteries. These changes result in increased vascular resistance and PAH. Due to the potential anti-proliferative and anti-fibrotic activity of terguride, this potential medicine could offer the hope of achieving reversal of pulmonary artery vascular remodeling and attenuation of disease progression.
Terguride has received orphan drug designation in both the United States and in the European Union for the treatment of PAH, a progressive, incurable disease that is estimated to affect 100,000 to 200,000 people in these regions. Terguride is also currently approved in Japan for the treatment of Hyperprolactinemia.
“Pfizer’s unique business unit structure positions us to advance a broad portfolio of innovative research programs designed to lead to a diversity of products, including highly specialized ones in disease areas like PAH,” said Geno Germano, president, Pfizer Specialty Care Business Unit. “In the case of terguride, we are pleased that we can support its continued development given our commitment to advancing the science in PAH and to bringing new, potentially disease modifying treatments to patients.”
Rudolf Reiter, Chief Executive Officer of Ergonex Pharma, said: “The serotonin hypothesis of PAH has been around for a long time. The clinical study of terguride in PAH is a challenging and demanding endeavor for us and we are excited about this agreement with Pfizer as it ensures continuity of development and advances our understanding of this pathway.”
About Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH)
PAH is characterized by high blood pressure and structural changes in the walls of the pulmonary arteries, the blood vessels that connect the right side of the heart to the lungs. In PAH, the pulmonary arteries become thickened and constricted, forcing the heart to work harder to pump blood through the lungs. Over time, the heart is unable to keep up, and blood flow and oxygenation become inadequate to meet the body’s demands. This can lead to breathlessness, fatigue, dizziness, fainting, edema, chest pain and the development of heart failure.
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ERGONEX Pharma is a pharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing well-tolerated and effective products for novel and typically underserved indications. This is being achieved by forging collaborations with commercial and academic partners with expertise in the field of interest and through outsourcing activities to service providers. Ergonex Pharma has received venture capital funding by High Tech Beteiligungen GmbH & Co. KG, Dusseldorf.