Transaction Case Studies

Japan collaboration for a phase 2 orphan dermatology asset AC-203, a novel topical treatment for epidermolysis bullosa simplex

Situation Assessment

  • TWi Biotechnology, Inc (TWiB) is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company based in Taipei, Taiwan, specializing in the development of repositioned drugs for unmet medical needs, especially in critical rare diseases. Its lead program, AC-203 is currently in Phase 2 trials in the US and EU for epidermolysis bullosa simplex (EBS) with their partner Castle Creek Biosciences.
  • TWiB was interested in securing a Japanese partner for their novel drug and in March 2019, engaged Locust Walk initially to conduct a market assessment of AC-203 for Japan.
  • Subsequently, in July 2019, TWiB engaged Locust Walk to conduct a partnering process for Japan.
  • In December 2020, TWiB and Locust Walk successfully consummated a collaboration between TWiB and Minophagen Pharmaceutical for AC-203, a phase 2 asset for EBS

Key Activities

  • Locust Walk carried out qualitative market research on EBS which demonstrated a significant unmet medical need in Japan, driving interest in the asset from various Japanese companies.
  • Based on the market assessment they conducted for TWiB, Locust Walk reached out to Japanese companies with its expertise in dermatology, leveraging the network with business development executives across large, medium and small companies in Japan.
  • Our outreach resulted in a competitive partnering process, as multiple companies expressed strong interest, ultimately leading to Minophagen Pharmaceutical which is a privately owned specialty pharmaceutical company.
  • Locust Walk worked closely with the TWiB team to let them understand key issues, and supported TWiB in negotiations and in timely face to face (online) meetings.

Successful Outcome

  • TWiB engaged Locust Walk in July 2019 to drive the process for securing a Japan partnership to the most beneficial conclusion. Our combined efforts led to TWiB and Minophagen consummating a Japan licensing and development collaboration in December 2020.
  • Although the deal saw some delays as a result of COVID-19, Locust Walk kept the momentum going and eventually lead to the signing of the collaboration.
  • Under the terms of the partnership, Minophagen paid an undisclosed upfront fee and will pay additional milestones and royalties to TWiB.

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