Amid sliding sales for prostate cancer drug Xofigo, Bayer will bolster its portfolio of targeted alpha therapies with the acquisition of radiotherapeutics biotech Noria Therapeutics and subsidiary PSMA Therapeutics.
The deal, of which financial details were not disclosed, will see Bayer pick up exclusive rights to two investigational therapies in prostate cancer that will complement the already approved therapy Xofigo, according to a release.
Targeted alpha therapies, or TATs, treat difficult tumors by delivering alpha radiation inside the body using either a bone-seeking property or through the combination of alpha radionuclides with specific molecules.
Bayer’s Xofigo is currently the only approved TAT, which can be used in patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer that has spread to the bones; the company has a proprietary platform of TATs. Xofigo is also being trialed in a larger clinical program.
Sales for Xofigo, once hailed as one of Bayer’s “Big Five” crucial new meds, have been slipping in recent years. The therapy brought in $65 million for Bayer in the first quarter of this year, down about 10% on an adjusted basis. The company blamed COVID-19 restrictions for the ongoing slide in a September 2020 report.
Noria and PSMA will bring to the table technology licensed from Weill Cornell Medicine and Johns Hopkins University for a differentiated alpha radionuclide investigational compound and a small molecule directed toward prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA).
Bayer seems specifically interested in the PSMA asset, which will add on to research already being conducted at the German pharmaceutical giant.
“This acquisition is another important milestone in enhancing Bayer’s oncology portfolio through both in-house expertise and strategic collaborations and agreements,” said Bayer’s Robert LaCaze, a member of the executive committee of the Pharmaceuticals Division and head of the Oncology Strategic Business Unit.