Dompé agrees to buy Anabasis

Adds to growing pipeline in treatments focused on ocular diseases

Italian biopharmaceutical firm Dompé has agreed to buy Anabasis, a privately held Italian research and development biopharmaceutical company, focused on ocular diseases.

Milan-based Anabasis, founded in 1999 by a group of Italian scientists who were among the first to study the use of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) – research which won Rita Levi-Montalcini the Nobel Prize – has advanced an ophthalmic formulation of NGF to preclinical and clinical stages for various diseases affecting both the anterior part of the eye, such as neurotrophic keratitis (NK) and dry eye, as well as the posterior part of the eye such as retinitis pigmentosa and glaucoma.

In January 2011, Anabasis signed a licensing and co-development agreement with Dompé, which acquired a 49% stake in the firm and patent rights for the use of NGF to treat NK.

By the end of 2011, Dompé had developed a stable process suitable for industrial production of recombinant human NGF (rhNGF) at its biotechnological plant in L’Aquila, Italy, which operates in compliance with GMP and is authorised to produce recombinant proteins for human use.

Under the terms of the agreement, Dompé has become the sole shareholder of Anabasis by acquiring the remaining 51% for an undisclosed amount, including an immediate upfront and subsequent milestone payments related to the development and commercialisation of NGF in pathological conditions.

‘The acquisition of Anabasis will lay the foundation stone of a new ophthalmology franchise and will create new strategic positions for Dompé in the very promising and dynamically growing ophthalmic area driven by unmet medical needs and an ageing population,’ said Eugenio Aringhieri, chief executive of Dompé.

‘Anabasis is an excellent addition to our growing pipeline and furthers our strategy of accessing high-growth segments of the international healthcare market, reducing our risk profile while focusing on patient needs.’

Francesco Sinigaglia, chief executive of Anabasis, said being owned by Dompé would provide Anabasis with the necessary resources and expertise to demonstrate the efficacy of products through regulatory clinical development.

‘With the continued support of scientific founders Professors Stefano Bonini, Alessandro Lambiase, Paolo Rama and Luigi Aloe, we are confident that we will successfully contribute to bringing innovative treatments to patients at risk of losing sight.’