Ipsen snags Epizyme and cancer portfolio for a cool $247 million
Published: Jun 27, 2022
By Alex Keown
Shares of Epizyme soared more than 63% Monday in premarket trading after France-based Ipsen announced it is acquiring the company and its cancer portfolio, including Tazverik, an oral potent, first-in-class EZH2 inhibitor that was approved for two different indications by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2020.
Ipsen snapped up Cambridge, MA-based Epizyme for $247 million, plus a contingent value right (CVR) of 30 cents per share. The CVR will be payable upon the achievement of $250 million in aggregate sales of Tazverik for four consecutive quarters by the end of 2026 in places it is approved outside of Japan and Greater China. Under terms of the deal, Ipsen valued Epizyme’s stock at $1.45 per share, a significantly higher value than its Friday closing price of $.95 per share. In premarket trading, the stock has already soared to $1.56 per share.
Tazverik has been approved for both the treatment of adults and pediatric patients aged 16 years and older with metastatic or locally advanced epithelioid sarcoma not eligible for complete resection, as well as for the treatment of two distinct follicular lymphoma (FL) indications. Those indications are for adult patients with relapsed or refractory FL whose tumors are positive for an EZH2 mutation and who have received at least two prior systemic therapies, as well as for adult patients with relapsed or refractory FL who have no satisfactory alternative treatment options.
Tazverik is also currently being assessed in a Phase III study in combination with rituximab and lenalidomide in patients with relapsed/refractory FL who have received at least one prior therapy. Initial results from the Phase III randomized portion of this study are planned to be read out in 2026, Ipsen said in its announcement.
In addition to Tazverik, Ipsen will also gain Epizyme’s first-in-class, oral SETD2 inhibitor development candidate, EZM0414, which was granted Fast Track designation last year for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed or refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. EZM0414 is currently being assessed in a Phase I/Ib study. Ipsen also noted a number of preclinical programs focusing on epigenetic targets it will gain from this deal.
David Loew, CEO of Ipsen, said the acquisition of Epizyme will allow the company to expand its oncology pipeline.
“Ipsen’s capabilities and resources in oncology combined with Epizyme’s will accelerate the growth of Tazverik to achieve its full potential in follicular lymphoma patients. The strength of data support Tazverik’s positioning in patients with both EZH2 mutation-positive and wild-type follicular lymphoma. We are compelled by the potential of its efficacy and tolerability profile, especially for elderly and/or frail patients who are treated in the community-based setting. Furthermore, we are excited to bring on board epigenetic expertise and the SETD2 inhibitor, as well as several pre-clinical compounds into our portfolio,” Loew said in a statement.
Grant Bogle, president and CEO of Epizyme, said he is proud of what his team has accomplished since the company’s founding in 2007.
“We expect that this acquisition and Ipsen’s commitment to invest in the oncology space will ensure our epigenetic pipeline continues to advance in a way we could not have done on our own to bring transformative cancer therapies to patients in need,” Bogle said in a statement.