Monday, June 04, 2007

Amgen buys Ilypsa for $420mm cash

Amgen is acquiring polymer drug specialist Ilypsa for $420 million in cash.

That price is a nice return for Ilypsa's investors (including 5AM Ventures, Delphi Ventures, Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation, NLV Partners, and US Venture Partners), who invested a combined $46 million in the company's May 2003 Series A and July 2005 Series B.

Ilypsa, which spun out of the materials science company Symyx Technologies concurrent with its Series A, brings to Amgen the Phase II ILY101, a phosphate binder being studied to treat hyperphosphatemia in chronic kidney disease patients on hemodialysis.

ILY101 could help the company move beyond EPO while leveraging its existing infrastructure. Astellas nabbed Japanese rights to the then-Phase I drug in April 2006, in a deal valued at up to $92 million. If US rights were on the table now they would have fetched a pretty penny; given the therapeutic fit, and in particular Amgen's acute need for an alternative growth engine, it's not a surprise the Big Biotech chose to buy rather than ally.

START-UP neatly profiled Ilypsa in late 2005, chronicling the company's genesis (it is Scripps' Peter Schultz's seven thousandth start-up) and screening technology (which identifies non-absorbable polymer drugs) and initial focus on CKD (a massive market with significant unmet need).

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