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VistaGen Signs $177 Million Deal with EverInsight for China/Asia Rights to VistaGen's Anxiety Drug

publication date: Jun 25, 2020
author/source: Richard Daverman, PhD

EverInsight Therapeutics, a China in-licensing company, acquired China/Southeast Asia rights to a novel anxiety treatment from VistaGen (NSDQ: VTGN) of South San Francisco in a $177 million agreement. VistaGen's PH94B is a rapid-onset neurosteroid drug candidate for multiple anxiety-related disorders that is ready for Phase III trials. It has received US Fast Track designation to treat social anxiety disorder (SAD). The collaboration between the companies will support Phase III development and commercialization of PH94B in China/Asia markets. ChinaBio® advised VistaGen on the transaction.

EverInsight will make a $5 million upfront payment for the rights and is responsible for up to $172 million in development and commercial milestones, plus royalties. PH94B, a neuroactive nasal spray, is being tested for SAD. VistaGen believes PH94B has potential for other anxiety-related indications as well, including COVID-19, and has announced a Phase II study to take place under U.S. FDA's Coronavirus Treatment Acceleration Program (CTAP). 

EverInsight in-licenses products for CNS and ophthalmology needs in Greater China and other Asian markets. The company is funded by CBC Group, formerly known as C-Bridge Capital, which is managing funds valued over $1B and also funded Everest Medicines and invested in Ascletis, I-Mab and Nuance, among others.

VistaGen says its pipeline is focused on three clinical-stage CNS drug candidates, each with a differentiated mechanism of action, an excellent safety profile and therapeutic potential in multiple large and growing CNS markets.

According to VistaGen, PH94B has a fundamentally different mechanism of action than current treatments for social anxiety disorder. It is developed from proprietary compounds called pherines and administered as a nasal spray, which allows it to be used on an as-needed basis. PH94B is designed to activate nasal chemosensory receptors that trigger neural circuits in the brain to suppress fear and anxiety without a sedative effect. In its Phase II trial, it was successful is lowering anxiety in patients with SAD who were facing public speaking or a social situation difficulty. Its effect was felt within 15 minutes.

ChinaBio Group, a strategic consulting and advisory firm based in Shanghai and San Diego, advised VistaGen on the transaction with EverInsight. "ChinaBio worked with VistaGen from the beginning to identify a number of parties interested in partnering to develop their CNS assets in China," said Greg Scott, Founder and CEO of ChinaBio. "We then worked closely with VistaGen through term sheet and final agreement negotiations to make sure they received attractive terms from a strong, long-term partner like EverInsight."

"ChinaBio’s team provided valuable support to complement our and EverInsight’s efforts to partner development and commercialization of PH94B in Greater China and other Asian markets," said Shawn Singh, Chief Executive Officer of VistaGen. "Together, we laid a firm foundation for a strong long-term relationship with EverInsight, a top tier partner in very important large and growing neuropsychiatry markets." 

"We are pleased to collaborate with EverInsight, a company that shares our vision and excitement for bringing PH94B, a potentially transformative treatment for multiple anxiety disorders, to millions of patients with unmet needs around the world. EverInsight is an ideal partner to support Phase III clinical development and commercial launch of PH94B in Greater China and other Asian markets, as we continue to focus on those activities in the US,” said Shawn Singh, CEO of VistaGen.

"We partner with innovative companies that develop novel medicines with large commercial potential in Greater China and other Asian markets. PH94B is an extremely valuable asset that the world desperately needs today to provide potential relief from the debilitating impact of anxiety on daily life," said Sean Cao, Managing Director of CBC Group, which is currently funding EverInsight.

VistaGen is initially developing PH94B as a fast-acting, non-sedating, non-addictive, new generation treatment of social anxiety disorder (SAD), as well as for adjustment disorder with anxiety related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The company believes the candidate has potential for postpartum anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, preoperative anxiety, panic disorder and other anxiety-related disorders. Besides the Phase III trial for SAD, VistaGen is preparing for Phase IIA development in AjDA associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Disclosure: ChinaBio® has a business relationship with VistaGen.




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