Botox Maker Allergan Buys Aesthetic Company Bonti For $195 Million Up Front
By Mark Terry
Bonti is a privately-held, clinical-stage company focused on fast-acting neurotoxin compounds for aesthetic and therapeutic applications. As part of the deal, Allergan picks up global rights to two of Bonti’s pipeline products. In the aesthetic program, EB-001A is a novel botulinum neurotoxin serotype E noted by a rapid onset of action within 24 hours and a 2 to 4-week duration of effect. It is currently in Phase II clinical trials. Bonti recently released topline data of EB-001 in glabellar frown lines.
In the therapeutic program, EB-001T uses the same active ingredient. EB-001T is currently in Phase II trials for focal muscle pain, which occurs as the result of surgical procedures or non-surgical muscle trauma.
EB-001A is also being evaluated for scar reduction after Mohs surgery. Mohs surgery is used to treat skin cancer. On August 23, the company released positive Phase IIa data, showing a favorable safety profile and suggesting promising clinical efficacy.
“The acquisition of Bonti is a strategic investment for the future of our Medical Aesthetics business and has the potential to enhance our best-in-class Medical Aesthetics pipeline,” said Brent Saunders, chairman and chief executive officer of Allergan, in a statement. “With the Medical Aesthetics market vastly expanding, a fast-acting neurotoxin with a 2 to 4-week duration will be an attractive option for consumers, particularly those who are considering a Medical Aesthetics treatment for the first time.”
Revance Therapeutics shares dropped 5.6 percent after the announcement. The company plans to file with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the first half of 2019 for a frown line treatment. The company presented Phase III data for its daxibotulinumtoxinA for glabellar frown lines in April at the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) conference.
“We are very pleased that the compelling data from our SAKURA trials will be highlighted by key luminaries at a leading U.S. plastic surgery conference, including highly statistically significant result for RT002 and its differentiated long-acting 6-month performance,” stated Dan Browne, president and chief executive officer of Revance, in a statement at the time. “A previously announced, SAKURA 3, our final, long-term safety study in this program has been fully enrolled. We anticipate completion of this trial in the second half of this year, followed by our regulatory filing for RT002 to treat glabellar lines in the first half of 2019.”
Of the acquisition, Fauad Hasan, chief executive officer and co-founder of Bonti, stated, “We’re excited about the development and commercial prospects for our novel programs within Allergan’s leading Medical Aesthetics portfolio. The promise of benefitting more consumers worldwide with our novel neurotoxin programs plus Allergan’s stature and resources in this market will help realize our team’s and investors’ aims. We could not envision a more compelling acquirer or better strategic fit.”
The news comes only two days after Allergan unveiled Spotlyte, a digital hub of curated content for consumers to learn more about medical aesthetic treatments. Aside from editorial content, it will also offer real-time support and chat directly with trained specialists. This is the first venture from the new Allergan-owned digital ventures unit, Project Moonwalker.
“We have a unique position as industry leaders to identify emerging trends in real time and change the way that consumers engage with medical aesthetics,” said Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, co-founder of Gilt Groupe and Glamsquad, and senior vice president of Consumer Strategy and Innovation at Allergan, in a statement. “I have spent most of my career focused on the consumer while creating powerful brands at the intersection of technology and lifestyle. The core goal of Project Moonwalker is to enable information flow and access. Spotlyte is the first step in changing how consumers can become better educated on medical aesthetics.”