Therapy Areas: Central Nervous System
Karuna Therapeutics, Zai Lab Forge Collaboration for Development, Manufacturing, and Commercialization of KarXT in Greater China
10 November 2021 - - US-based biopharmaceutical company Karuna Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: KRTX) and China-based biopharmaceutical company Zai Lab Ltd. (NASDAQ: ZLAB) (HKEX: 9688) have entered into an exclusive license agreement for the development, manufacturing, and commercialization of KarXT (xanomeline-trospium) in Greater China, including mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan, the companies said.

KarXT is an oral, investigational M1/M4-preferring muscarinic agonist that stimulates receptors in the central nervous system implicated in various psychiatric conditions.

KarXT was designed to unlock the therapeutic potential of xanomeline, which demonstrated significant benefits in reducing symptoms of psychosis in Phase 2 studies in schizophrenia and Alzheimer's disease, while ameliorating side effects seen in earlier studies.

In the Phase 2 EMERGENT-1 trial, KarXT demonstrated clinically meaningful and statistically significant improvements in the primary endpoint of Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) total score, and in key secondary endpoints, including PANSS-positive subscore and PANSS-negative subscore, at week 5, and was generally well-tolerated.

Karuna is evaluating KarXT in late-stage clinical trials for the treatment of schizophrenia and psychosis in Alzheimer's disease.

The EMERGENT program, the clinical program evaluating KarXT for the treatment of schizophrenia, is underway.

The EMERGENT program is comprised of the previously completed Phase 2 EMERGENT-1 trial and four ongoing Phase 3 trials, with data from EMERGENT-2 and EMERGENT-3, the two Phase 3 acute efficacy and safety trials, expected in mid-2022 and in the second half of 2022, respectively.

Karuna plans to initiate the Phase 3 ARISE trial evaluating KarXT as an adjunctive treatment for schizophrenia in adults who inadequately respond to atypical antipsychotics in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Additionally, Karuna also plans to initiate a Phase 3 program evaluating KarXT for the treatment of psychosis in Alzheimer's disease in mid-2022 following encouraging results from the completed Phase 1b healthy elderly volunteer trial, which suggest that potentially therapeutic doses of KarXT can be administered to elderly adults while maintaining a favorable tolerability profile. Zai Lab will work with Karuna to design the optimal strategy to accelerate the development and regulatory timeline of KarXT in Greater China.

Under the terms of the agreement, Karuna will receive a USD 35m upfront payment and is eligible to receive up to an additional USD 80m in development and regulatory milestones.

Karuna is also eligible to receive up to USD 72m in sales milestones and low-double-digit to high-teens tiered royalties based on annual net sales of KarXT in Greater China.

Zai Lab will fund substantially all development, regulatory, and commercialization activities in Greater China.

Goldman Sachs and Co. LLC is acting as financial advisor to Karuna Therapeutics.

KarXT (xanomeline-trospium) is an oral, investigational M1/M4-preferring muscarinic acetylcholine receptor agonist in development for the treatment of psychiatric and neurological conditions, including schizophrenia and dementia-related psychosis.

KarXT preferentially stimulates muscarinic receptors in the central nervous system implicated in these conditions, as opposed to current antipsychotic medicines, which bind to the D2 dopamine receptor.

KarXT has the potential to usher in a new class of treatment for schizophrenia and dementia-related psychosis based on its differentiated mechanism of action.
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