Analyst Views Karuna Therapeutics' New Licensing Deal 'As Intriguing'

  • Karuna Therapeutics Inc KRTX and Goldfinch Bio entered into an exclusive license agreement under which Karuna will obtain global rights to Goldfinch Bio's investigational transient receptor potential canonical 4 and 5 (TRPC4/5) channel candidates, including lead candidate GFB-887
  • Karuna intends to evaluate these candidates as potential treatments for various psychiatric and neurological conditions, starting with GFB-887 for treating mood and anxiety disorders. 
  • Karuna expects to share details on the planned development of GFB-887 in 2H of 2023.
  • The assignment estate of Goldfinch Bio will receive a $15 million upfront payment and is eligible to receive up to $520 million in milestone payments for each TRPC4/5 candidate.
  • Earlier this year, Goldfinch Bio announced closing after it failed to secure additional financing.
  • William Blair views the deal as intriguing as it adds potential catalysts for Karuna via readthrough from the BI studies as the company prepares to file an FDA marketing application this year for KarXT in schizophrenia following the first quarter readout of EMERGENT-3.
  • The analyst notes that outside of Boehringer Ingelheim and a suite of tool compounds, Karuna now has the only other TRPC4/5 inhibitor in development for neuropsychiatric disorders and is a once-daily option rather than twice-daily BI 1358894.
  • It says Karuna will take a backseat and see BI turn their data cards on TRPC4/5 inhibition and potentially receive readthroughs rather than leading the cholinergic space in psychosis with KarXT, with Cerevel Therapeutics Holdings Inc CERE and Neurocrine Biosciences Inc NBIX to follow.
  • Price Action: KRTX shares are down 0.14% at $194.28 during the premarket session on the last check Friday.
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