INvestment Finance MoneyForbion Capital Partners, one of the leading Dutch venture capital firms investing in world-class healthcare technologies, announces that its portfolio company, Dezima Pharma, the biotechnology company developing innovative drugs to treat dyslipidaemic patients suffering from cardiovascular disease (CVD), will be acquired by Amgen, Inc.

Amgen has agreed to acquire all outstanding shares of Dezima for up to $1.55 billion from Forbion and other current shareholders, subject to obtaining US Federal Trade Commission clearance. Further details of the acquisition include an upfront payment of $300 million, milestone payments of up to $1.25 billion and low-single-digit royalties on net product sales above a certain threshold.

Dezima was founded in 2012 by Prof. John Kastelein, Professor of Medicine at the Department of Vascular Medicine at the Academic Medical Center of the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The team at Forbion recognized early on the potential of TA-8995, an oral, once-daily CETP inhibitor and helped to found, fund and staff the company, including in-licensing this lead asset from Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation (MTPC).

Forbion and its affiliate BioGeneration Ventures then brought in other investors including New Science Ventures, and also Rob de Ree, its current CEO.

Last June, Dezima’s TULIP (TA-8995: its Use in patients with mild dysLIPidemia) study was published in The Lancet (HERE) showing potent effects in treating patients with dyslipidaemia. The TULIP study showed that TA-8995, both as monotherapy and on top of statins, caused significant decrease of LDL and simultaneous increase of cholesterol efflux capacity.

Sander Slootweg, Forbion’s Managing Partner and Chairman of Dezima, said, “Dezima is the poster child of a successful modern start-up company. Several of our team and advisors, including Prof. John Kastelein, filled critical management positions, such as interim CEO, CFO and project management. Xention Ltd, one of our UK portfolio companies, designed and executed the required preclinical studies and optimized the manufacturing of the product.”

Slootweg added: “Today’s acquisition and the value that Amgen has set on the company, validates our belief in the team and the science. Dezima will be a great fit for Amgen and complements its other products targeting high cholesterol.”

“There has been an auspicious coming together of key elements leading up to this acquisition by Amgen: the combination of great chemistry by MTPC which designed TA-8995, our skilled and experienced pre-clinical and clinical development team led by Dr John Ford and Dr Patrick Round in Cambridge (UK) coupled with smart capital provided by Forbion, NSV and BGV,” said Prof. John Kastelein, CSO and founder of Dezima. “I am proud to be part of this exceptional team and company, and I now look forward to working with Amgen to speed this highly promising product to market and to patients as soon as we can.”

Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma will receive a portion of the upfront payment and future development and sales milestones from Dezima. Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma will also retain development and commercialization rights to TA-8995 in certain territories in Asia, including Japan.