Ipsen to buy Epizyme, expanding its epigenetic portfolio

June 27, 2022

French drugmaker Ipsen has entered into a definitive merger agreement to acquire Epizyme, a Massachusetts-based biopharma with a focus on novel epigenetic therapies.

The primary focus of the acquisition is Epizyme's lead drug, Tazverik, a first-in-class, chemotherapy-free EZH2a inhibitor that was granted Accelerated Approval by the U.S. FDA in Jan. 2020. With this approval, Tazverik became the first drug specifically approved to treat patients with epithelioid sarcoma, an aggressive life-threatening cancer that typically affects young adults.

Tazverik hit the market quickly with big sales expectations, but the pandemic blunted its rise to stardom. The therapy brought in $30.9 million in 2021, which wasn't enough to keep Epizyme out of trouble — the company announced a 12% staff reduction as well as the end of two clinical studies for Tazverik in March 2022 in an effort to cut costs.

Also part of the recent transaction, Ipsen will acquire Epizyme’s first-in-class, oral SETD2 inhibitor development candidate, EZM0414, which was granted FDA Fast Track status and is currently under evaluation in a recently initiated phase I/Ib trial in adult patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, as well as a portfolio of preclinical programs focusing on epigenetic targets.

The transaction was unanimously approved by both Ipsen and Epizyme Boards of Directors and is anticipated to close by the end of the third quarter of 2022.