ImmuPharma (LON:IMM) announced a major US licensing deal on 28 November 2019 with Avion Pharmaceuticals, a US specialty business that has a focus on Rheumatology, Women’s health (Lupus afflicts women more) Dermatology and other therapeutic areas. Avion have a strong marketing and commercialisation operation (with over 100 specialist sales reps). Avion has exclusively in-licensed Lupuzor™ for the US market for Lupus (SLE) and other indications and agreed to fund an international Phase III clinical trial for up to US$25m. In addition, Avion will pay up to US$70m in milestones and a royalty stream tiered to 17% has been agreed. We have always believed that ImmuPharma could deliver such a successful deal for the US market (given the track record of the previous deal executed with Cephalon). This deal with Avion was aided by the strength of the clinical data (and safety profile) from the Phase III trial announced last year. Our detailed analysis of the respective cohort data, driven by the performance of the peptide in the auto ds-DNA antibody positive patients validated our assumptions of the value of Lupuzor™.
We now see Lupuzor™ as having the ability to generate blockbuster sales in the US (US$1bn+) alone (previously US and EU combined) – which when coupled with a royalty stream of up to 17% on revenues, could see an annual royalty to ImmuPharma’s bottom line of US$170m per year. What is particularly impressive about this deal is not only ImmuPharma’s ability to identify and execute a new licensing partner for Lupuzor™ but also the opportunity available for ImmuPharma to find new distribution and marketing partners outside the US for Lupuzor™, for e.g. in Europe, where a new trial would not even be required given Avion’s funding commitment. This means that there is a distinct possibility that further licensing deals could follow bringing in an attractive additional royalty stream, and additional upfront and milestone payments. Outside of Lupuzor™, we believe that ImmuPharma has the potential to generate news-flow on its other pipeline assets including Nucant and UreKa. Based on the financial assumptions for this deal, and a lower risk profile (reduction in risk premium in our DCF model) we increase our target price (which is 50% discounted) from 76p to 100p / share. BUY.