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Vifor buys out one-drug wonder Sanifit

Swiss Vifor Pharma is shelling out more than €375m for Mallorca-based Sanifit, a clinical-stage cardio-renal biopharmaceutical company with a single compound in development.

The drug candidate, SNF472, is a selective calcification inhibitor with a novel mechanism of action. It is being developed for the treatment of calcific uremic arteriolopathy (CUA) and peripheral artery disease (PAD) in patients with end-stage kidney disease. SNF472 inhibits the development and progression of ectopic calcifications by binding to the growth sites of hydroxyapatite (HAP) crystals, the main component of calcification deposits. In doing so, it blocks the formation and growth of HAP crystals in blood vessels, preventing cardiovascular calcification. The compound is currently in phase-III trials in CUA in patients on dialysis; a phase-III trial in PAD in patients on dialysis is planned to start in 2022.

For this compound, Vifor is making an upfront payment of €205m, precommercial milestones for up to €170m and tiered sales-based milestones that could reach mid to high triple digit EUR millions at peak sales.

“Through the acquisition of Sanifit and its lead compound SNF472, we will further expand our growing nephrology pipeline into vascular calcification, a major cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with end-stage kidney disease,” commented Abbas Hussain, Chief Executive Officer of Vifor Pharma Group. “SNF472 is the only novel asset addressing a great unmet medical need for end-stage kidney disease patients with calcific uremic arteriolopathy and peripheral artery disease. We look forward to bringing this highly promising, innovative treatment option to over 330,000 patients in the US and Europe, living with CUA or PAD, as soon as possible.”

Vifor is serious in its efforts to expand into the vascular calcification field: The St. Gallen-based pharma company also acquired the Swiss biotech Inositec for CHF20m upfront. Inositec is developing another cardiovascular calcification inhibitor, INS-3001, in its preclinical pipeline.