Novo Nordisk has agreed to acquire Montreal-based Inversago Pharma in a deal worth up to $1.075 billion that will diversify Novo's obesity pipeline.
Inversago focuses on CB1 receptor-based therapies for the potential treatment of obesity, diabetes and complications associated with metabolic disorders.
Key to the deal is Inversago's lead pipeline asset, INV-202, an oral CB1 inverse agonist. INV-202 is designed to preferentially block the receptor protein CB1 — which plays an important role in metabolism and appetite regulation — in peripheral tissues such as adipose tissues, the gastro-intestinal tract, the kidneys, liver, pancreas, muscles and lungs.
INV-202 demonstrated weight loss potential in a phase 1b trial and is currently in a phase 2 trial for diabetic kidney disease. Additional pipeline assets are also being developed for metabolic and fibrotic disorders.
Novo Nordisk says it intends to investigate the potential of INV-202 for obesity and obesity-related complications. The approach to obesity treatment is different from Novo's current injectable semaglutide portfolio that has skyrocketed sales for the Danish drugmaker. The company saw obesity care sales increase by 84% to $2.48 billion last year.