Vanda expands commercial presence with $100M deal for US rights to J&J multiple sclerosis drug

Vanda Pharmaceuticals has a new commercial asset under its belt after striking a deal to buy certain rights to Johnson & Johnson’s multiple sclerosis med Ponvory for $100 million.

Vanda secured U.S. and Canadian rights to the daily oral selective sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor 1 (S1P1R) modulator from J&J’s Actelion subsidiary. Ponvory was approved in 2021 to treat relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis and could be a potential treatment for a group of inflammatory and autoimmune disorders, including psoriasis and ulcerative colitis, Vanda said in its Thursday press release.

The buy is a “significant milestone” for Vanda, CEO and chairman Mihael H. Polymeropoulos, M.D., said in a statement. The deal "expands our commercial portfolio and gives us access to a versatile immune response modifier that can potentially have broad application in treating a number of autoimmune-based disorders," the chief added. 

J&J's sale of certain Ponvory rights comes after Fierce Pharma in February reported that the pharma company had laid off some members of its multiple sclerosis sales team. The drugmaker has yet to reveal sales figures for Ponvory.

As for Vanda, the drug adds to its current commercial portfolio of Hetlioz for non-24-hour sleep-wake disorder and Smith-Magenis syndrome-related sleep disturbances, plus schizophrenia treatment Fanapt.  

On the horizon for Vanda is gastroparesis med tradipitant, which, if approved, would be the first novel drug for the condition in over four decades. The FDA accepted the company's approval application earlier this month and set a decision date for next September.

Hetlioz and Fanapt are also due for FDA decisions on potential label expansions next year.

Meanwhile, Vanda has spent the last few years quarreling with the FDA over its 2019 rejection of Hetlioz in jet lag disorder. Earlier this year, a Washington D.C. district court sided with Vanda and ordered the FDA to release relevant records.