Zevra acquires Acer for $91M to enter rare disease market with Olpruva

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Zevra acquires Acer for $91M to enter rare disease market with OLPRUVA

In a swift move that accelerates its transformation into a prominent player in the rare disease market, Zevra Therapeutics has announced a strategic acquisition of Acer Therapeutics. This strategic maneuver involves a substantial investment of $91 million and paves the way for Zevra to establish its presence as a formidable force in the realm of rare disease therapeutics.

The acquisition is anticipated to conclude in the final quarter of this year. A compelling facet of the deal is the inclusion of a unique incentive mechanism: Acer shareholders stand to gain up to $76 million through Contingent Value Rights (CVRs). These CVRs are intrinsically tied to achieving commercial and regulatory milestones for two rare disease drugs—Olpruva and Edsivo.

“We believe that Acer’s portfolio of rare disease programs, including the recent U.S. commercial approval of OLPRUVA for UCDs, is a perfect strategic fit for Zevra and creates significant opportunity for us to positively impact patient lives while creating shareholder value. We are excited about Acer’s clinical programs and are confident in the potential of OLPRUVA to bring UCD patients a more convenient and cost-effective treatment option over current therapies. Acer would bring unique rare disease operations and capabilities that would serve as a foundation to support the commercialization of Zevra’s pipeline as it advances.” 

– Joshua Schafer, Chief Commercialization Officer and Executive Vice President of Business Development of Zevra Therapeutics

Olpruva, an innovative solution developed by Acer, received the green light from US regulatory authorities in December for the treatment of urea cycle disorders (UCDs). These conditions entail the absence of a crucial enzyme in the liver, leading to the toxic accumulation of ammonia in the bloodstream.

Notably, Edsivo, also known as celiprolol, has effectively established itself as the “standard of care” for off-label management of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome across Europe. This autosomal inherited disorder stems from genetic mutations affecting collagen’s structural components, with Edsivo demonstrating significant potential in mitigating its impact.

Beyond the immediate acquisition, the deal presents an additional dimension: Acer’s promising early-stage program, ACER-2820, aimed at combatting infectious diseases. The agreement offers Acer investors the prospect of extra financial rewards, contingent on regulatory milestones tied to this program.

“This merger would support Zevra’s vision of becoming a leading rare disease company bringing life-changing therapies to patients with a significant unmet need. The commercial launch of OLPRUVA in the US requires a small, highly-focused commercial team, which is complementary to what we intend to build for arimoclomol, our product candidate for the treatment of Niemann-Pick disease Type C (NPC). We believe there is potential to realize significant synergies across our commercial organizations as both UCDs and NPC are metabolic related conditions and there is overlap among those physicians that treat both disorders.”

– Christal Mickle, Zevra’s interim Chief Executive Officer and Chief Development Officer

Zevra’s strategic repertoire also boasts another commercially available drug—Azstarys, designed to address Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in individuals aged six and above. With the potential for multiple milestones to be reached in 2023 and the promise of sustained royalty revenue, Azstarys positions Zevra on a trajectory of growth and innovation.

As Zevra Therapeutics solidifies its foothold in the rare disease sector, this acquisition ushers in a new era of strategic expansion. The blending of expertise and the infusion of innovative solutions signify an exciting chapter in the company’s journey, poised to leave a transformative imprint in the healthcare landscape.

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