Incyte Shells Out $750M for Escient’s Immunology Assets

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In a move that further solidifies its position in the inflammatory disease space, Incyte Corporation has agreed to acquire Escient Pharmaceuticals for $750 million. The deal, announced on Tuesday, will add two promising immunology and inflammation candidates to Incyte’s pipeline, complementing its existing dermatology portfolio.

The star assets in the acquisition are EP262 and EP547, both of which have shown promising early results in clinical trials. EP262, the more advanced of the two, is currently being evaluated for the treatment of various inflammatory skin conditions, including atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, and vitiligo. Preclinical data has demonstrated EP262’s ability to improve atopic dermatitis-like lesions and reduce inflammation, making it a potentially valuable addition to Incyte’s dermatology lineup.

EP547, while in an earlier stage of development, is being studied for the treatment of itching associated with kidney and liver diseases – a condition known as pruritus, which can significantly impact a patient’s quality of life. With two phase 1 trials currently underway, EP547 could address a significant unmet need in these patient populations.

“EP262 and EP547 are complementary additions to our portfolio, providing an opportunity to leverage our expertise, address the needs of patients with inflammatory diseases and additional potential launch opportunities starting in 2029,” said Hervé Hoppenot, Incyte’s CEO.

For Incyte, the acquisition of Escient Pharmaceuticals represents a strategic move to strengthen its position in the lucrative dermatology market. The company already has an approved JAK1/JAK2 inhibitor cream, Opzelura, which is indicated for atopic dermatitis and vitiligo. With EP262 and additional pipeline candidates, Incyte aims to expand its offerings and capture a larger share of the growing inflammatory skin disease market.

The deal also follows Incyte’s recent acquisition of the cancer drug Monjuvi from MorphoSys, further demonstrating the company’s commitment to bolstering its portfolio through strategic partnerships and acquisitions.

Escient Pharmaceuticals, a relatively young company founded in 2018, had already attracted significant investor interest, raising over $200 million in private financing rounds from the likes of Sanofi. The company’s promising early-stage pipeline and expertise in inflammatory diseases likely made it an attractive target for Incyte.

The transaction, which is expected to close in the third quarter of 2024, will provide Incyte with a diverse range of assets spanning multiple inflammatory and immunological indications. As the company continues to expand its offerings, it remains well-positioned to capitalize on the growing demand for innovative treatments in these therapeutic areas.

Take a moment to take a look at Noble Capital Markets’ Senior Research Analyst Robert LeBoyer’s coverage list.


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