Incyte agrees to acquire skin disease drug developer in $750 million deal

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Incyte has agreed to acquire Escient Pharmaceuticals, a clinical-stage company with a promising dermatology candidate. The price tag is $750 million.

“As a company dedicated to innovation and the discovery of transformative medicines, we are excited to add EP262 and EP547 to our portfolio. This acquisition builds on our strategy to develop differentiated and first-in-class medicines with high potential,” said Hervé Hoppenot, CEO of Incyte. “EP262 and EP547 are complementary additions to our portfolio, providing an opportunity to leverage our expertise, address the needs of patients with inflammatory diseases, and additional potential launch opportunities starting in 2029.”

EP262 has the potential to effectively treat atopic dermatitis and other diseases.

“These drug candidates are the result of the highly innovative research performed by Escient’s employees and scientific collaborators,” said Joshua A. Grass, CEO of San Diego-based Escient. “With its experienced development and commercial teams in Inflammation and Autoimmunity and portfolio of commercial and development-stage products, Incyte is well positioned to translate this new science into valuable medicines for patients.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Incyte will acquire Escient and its assets for $750 million plus Escient’s net cash remaining at the close of the transaction.

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Incyte has been focusing on dermatology treatments for skin conditions and is seeing growing sales for Opzelura, a cream used to treat skin conditions including pigment loss. Opzelura came out of the research that led to the development of Incyte’s blockbuster blood cancer drug Jakafi.

It is believed to be the first big-dollar acquisition for Incyte, which has focused on developing drugs coming out of its labs or through joint ventures with larger companies.

Incyte is based near Wilmington and employs about 1,500 in the area around its headquarters.

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