Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals and Vivo Capital Launch
Joint Venture Aimed at Greater China Market
Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals, a US company focused on therapies triggering the RNA interference (RNAi), and Vivo Capital, a global healthcare investment firm with offices in Palo Alto, CA, and in China, have formed a new joint venture, Visirna Therapeutics, to expand the reach of innovative medicines in Greater China. “Greater China is an important region for global pharmaceutical products broadly, and specifically for medicines that treat cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. We believe that the best way to get important new medicines to patients in China as quickly and effectively as possible is to have a dedicated entity with its own management and development staff that understand and are solely focused on the intricacies of China’s clinical, regulatory, and commercial environment. We believe this structure will allow us to maximize the value of key Arrowhead assets, without losing focus on our core business opportunities,” said Christopher Anzalone, Ph.D., Arrowhead’s president and CEO. “Our colleagues at Vivo Capital have a broad network in the Chinese biopharma ecosystem, which makes them an invaluable partner as we look to recruit the best people to run this new business.”
Four RNAi therapeutics licensed to Visirna
Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals also announced that it has entered into a license agreement with Visirna, pursuant to which Visirna will have exclusive rights to develop and commercialize four of Arrowhead’s investigational RNAi therapeutics for cardiometabolic diseases in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. Funds affiliated with Vivo provided initial funding of $60 million to Visirna and Vivo will leverage its network in Greater China to support Visirna, particularly in recruiting Visirna’s leadership team and actively engaging in corporate development, clinical, and regulatory strategies in the region. Arrowhead has a majority stake in Visirna after accounting for shares reserved for the employee stock ownership plan and is further eligible to receive potential royalties on commercial sales. Under the terms of the agreement, Visirna receives an exclusive license to develop and commercialize four undisclosed investigational RNAi therapeutics targeting cardiovascular and metabolic diseases (Licensed Products) in Greater China (Licensed Territory). Visirna will be wholly responsible for clinical development and commercialization of the Licensed Products in the Licensed Territory. Arrowhead is eligible to receive royalties on net commercial product sales in the Licensed Territory. Arrowhead also received the right to appoint members to the Visirna board of directors. Visirna will be headquartered in Shanghai, and recruitment of management and development staff is currently underway.