Zurich/Loos - The French pharmaceutical company GENFIT has agreed a deal to acquire Versantis. With its advanced research programs, GENFIT is expanding its pipeline to combat acute-on-chronic liver failure. The takeover will include payments of up to 105 million Swiss francs in addition to a share of revenues.

GENFIT has acquired the share capital of Versantis in full. The deal has now been announced by Versantis, a late-stage biopharmaceutical company based in Zurich that is working on the development of programs against acute-on-chronic liver failure (ACLF). As a result, GENFIT, headquartered near to the city of Lille in north-east France and operating on a global basis, will be able to expand its pipeline with the inclusion of product candidates developed by Versantis. In due course, the Versantis team is to be integrated in GENFIT.

According to the information contained in the press release, ACLF is an underserved medical condition that is associated with short-term mortality and significant treatment costs. So far, no drugs have been approved in this indication. At the same time, however, the press release explains that incidence of ACLF is increasing “at epidemic rates”.

The press release identifies an innovative liposomal-based therapeutic product candidate as the main asset of Versantis. If approved, it would be the first intraperitoneal drug to simultaneously support the liver, kidneys and brain, which are also the organs that most commonly failing in cirrhotic patients.

The terms of the deal include a payment of 40 million Swiss francs plus a total of 65 million Swiss francs in potential add-ons contingent on successful clinical and regulatory milestones. In addition, Versantis will receive one-third of net proceeds in the event that the US Food and Drug Administration approves priority review of the product candidates.

Versantis CSO Vincent Forster and COO Meriam Kabbaj take the view that “GENFIT’s knowledge and experience in the development of programs targeting complex liver diseases will be invaluable”. Moreover, they also value the “new opportunities offered by GENFIT’s research capabilities”.

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