Epirus decides to focus on rare disease biosimilars only

May 10, 2016 7:22 AM

Epirus Biopharmaceuticals, Inc., a biosimilar company focused on the global development and commercialization of biosimilar monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), announced reprioritization of the company’s pipeline to focus exclusively on developing biosimilars for the treatment of rare diseases. 

This includes reallocating the Company’s resources to focus on the development of BOW080 (eculizumab; reference biologic Soliris®) for the potential treatment of ultra-rare blood disorders and BOW070 (tocilizumab; reference biologic Actemra®) for the potential treatment of an uncommon lymphoproliferative disorder known as Castleman’s disease.

With the prioritization of the Company’s rare disease biosimilar assets, Epirus will suspend lead program BOW015 (infliximab, reference biologic Remicade®) and work to further evaluate strategic options for the program, which may include partnerships, divestitures and/or other value-generating alternatives. The Company’s decision to suspend its BOW015 program is based on cost-savings, not technical reasons, and the program remains ready to commence its planned global Phase 3 clinical study. The focus on high-value biosimilars that treat rare diseases also necessitates a restructuring of operations and elimination up to approximately 40 percent of positions in the Company’s workforce. The Company is taking this action in response to the evolving biosimilar competitive and business landscape, in order to focus on markets that are more targeted and may yield marketed products through a more capital-efficient development pathway.

Additionally, effective immediately, Amit Munshi has stepped down as president, chief executive officer and as a member of the Company’s board.  Scott Rocklage, Ph.D., a current Company board member, managing partner at 5AM Ventures and founding chief executive officer of Cubist Pharmaceuticals, has been appointed chief executive officer. Michael Wyand, DVM, Ph.D., the Company’s current chief technology officer and a key force in building the rare disease pipeline, has been promoted to president and chief operating officer.

 “Amit has been instrumental in establishing Epirus as a leading biosimilar company,” said Scott Rocklage, Ph.D., chief executive officer, Epirus Biopharmaceuticals.  “We appreciate his very significant contributions to our business over his four years at Epirus.”

“We are extremely excited to focus on rare diseases and this represents a significant milestone for both the Company and the community, as there exists an unmet need for cost-effective therapies in the rare disease space,” said Michael Wyand, DVM Ph.D., president, Epirus Biopharmaceuticals.  “Our initial market research with hematologists indicates that physicians are receptive to, and likely to prescribe biosimilars for, rare diseases.  We look forward to paving the way for biosimilars focused in rare diseases.”

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