Baxter Acquires Orphan Drug Company AesRx
Baxter International Inc. has acquired AesRx, LLC, a private US biopharmaceutical company focused on orphan drug targets, including the development and commercialization of Aes-103, an investigational prophylactic treatment for sickle-cell disease. Baxter made an initial payment to acquire the company and may make additional future payments based on specified development, regulatory and commercial milestones. The specific terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
AesRx’s lead compound is Aes-103, an oral, small-molecule compound (5-hydroxymethylfurfural). Early studies indicate the compound may work by binding to hemoglobin and increasing oxygen affinity and stabilization, thereby reducing the sickling of red blood cells which, in turn, may reduce sickling-related outcomes such as vaso-occlusive crisis, pain, severe anemia, and fatigue. Aes-103 has received Orphan designation from the FDA and is eligible for Orphan designation in Europe.
The Aes-103 program is currently in a Phase II clinical trial as part of an ongoing collaboration with the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences through its Therapeutics for Rare and Neglected Diseases program. The compound, originally patented by Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), was developed by a team from the VCU Institute for Structural Biology and Drug Discovery, an interdisciplinary research center spanning the university’s Schools of Medicine and Pharmacy.
Source: Baxter International