2023-03-23| Licensing

Biohaven Licenses TYK2/JAK1 Dual Inhibitor From China’s Highlight In $970 Million Pact

by Joy Lin
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Biohaven has acquired an exclusive global license (excluding the China region) for an oral, brain-penetrant dual inhibitor of Tyrosine Kinase 2 (TYK2) and Janus Kinase 1 (JAK1) for the treatment of brain disorders. Licensed from China-based Hangzhou Highlightll Pharmaceutical, Biohaven is expecting to advance the TYK2/JAK1 inhibitor, now called BHV-8000, into Phase 1 this year. 

Under the terms of the agreement, Highlightll will receive $10 million upfront and $10 million in Biohaven shares, as well as milestone payments reaching up to $950 million and tiered royalties between “mid-single digit to lower teens percentages”. The two companies will reportedly coordinate clinical development across global regions. 

Related Article: Pfizer Buys Biohaven For $11.6 Billion, Bags Migraine Asset

TYK2/JAK1 Inhibition and Inflammation

The TYK2 and JAK1 signaling pathways are involved in the immune response and inflammation. Small molecules that target these kinases have shown efficacy in autoimmune, skin, and gut disorders. One such example is Bristol Myers Squibb’s Sotyktu (deucravacitinib), the first TYK2 inhibitor to be approved for plaque psoriasis. 

According to Biohaven, BHV-8000 could bring this validated immune target to brain disorders. By inhibiting TYK2 and JAK1, the drug could potentially reduce inflammation in disorders including Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and multiple sclerosis. Additionally, the drug could stand apart from the competition with its dual selectivity for TYK2/JAK1 without the toxicity of JAK2/JAK3.  

“We have gained tremendous insight into the role of the immune system and critical inflammatory signaling pathways with events that drive the onset, propagation and relentless progression of neurodegenerative diseases. BHV-8000, with its blood-brain barrier penetrant activity and dual profile of TYK2/JAK1 inhibition, offers the potential for a unique and highly attractive therapeutic advancement for the treatment of brain disorders,” commented Vlad Coric, M.D., Chairman and CEO of Biohaven. 

Dr. Coric added that BHV-8000 would expand the company’s neuro-immunomodulatory therapies including selective extracellular degraders against IgG, IgA, and antigen-specific targets. 

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