Zogenix Acquires Modis and MT1621, Potential Oral Treatment for TK2 Deficiency

Zogenix Acquires Modis and MT1621, Potential Oral Treatment for TK2 Deficiency

Zogenix has acquired Modis Therapeutics and, in doing so, added to its portfolio MT1621, a potential treatment for a mitochondrial disease called TK2 deficiency.

TK2 (thymidine kinase 2) is a protein involved in the normal function of mitochondria. It helps to make and maintain the DNA in mitochondria.

TK2 deficiency, as the name suggests, occurs when a person has a genetic mutation that prevents them from making enough functional TK2. This leads to abnormally low amounts of DNA in mitochondria. Ultimately, the mitochondria are not able to provide the energy that cells need.

Most commonly, TK2 deficiency causes problems in muscles — presumably because muscle cells use a relatively high amount of cellular energy — and in more severe cases can affect the brain and liver, which also use a lot of energy. The most frequent symptoms are related to muscle weakness and difficulty moving.

MT1621 is, essentially, a group of deoxynucleosides — the ‘building blocks’ of mitochondrial DNA — that can be taken orally. The basic theory is that by providing more material to make the mitochondrial DNA, even a faulty system will make more.

In a retrospective Phase 2 clinical trial evaluating MT1621 (NCT03701568) in 38 people with TK2 deficiency, the treatment was reported to improve functional abilities relative to what would be expected in the disease’s natural course.

The therapy has been given PRIME (PRIority MEdicines) designation from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and Breakthrough Therapy designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Patients who completed the earlier study, plus a few select others, were invited to continue (or start) using MT1621 in the open-label Phase 2 trial (NCT03845712) assessing its safety and effectiveness in up to 40 people with TK2 deficiency. This study is expected to conclude in December 2021.

To acquire Modis (and, by extension, MT1621), Zogenix reported paying $175 million in cash and $75 million in stock. Modis will also be eligible for an additional $150 million if MT1621 gets regulatory approvals, plus a 5% royalty on sales of MT1621 should it be approved.

“We welcome Modis to our growing Zogenix team,” Stephen J. Farr, PhD, the president and chief executive officer of Zogenix, said in a press release.

“With our strengthened portfolio, we are very excited to now be advancing two very promising potential new therapies to patients and families in need — FINTEPLA for Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndromes and MT1621 for TK2 deficiency,” he added.

Marisa holds an MS in Cellular and Molecular Pathology from the University of Pittsburgh, where she studied novel genetic drivers of ovarian cancer. She specializes in cancer biology, immunology, and genetics. Marisa began working with BioNews in 2018, and has written about science and health for SelfHacked and the Genetics Society of America. She also writes/composes musicals and coaches the University of Pittsburgh fencing club.
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Margarida graduated with a BS in Health Sciences from the University of Lisbon and a MSc in Biotechnology from Instituto Superior Técnico (IST-UL). She worked as a molecular biologist research associate at a Cambridge UK-based biotech company that discovers and develops therapeutic, fully human monoclonal antibodies.
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Marisa holds an MS in Cellular and Molecular Pathology from the University of Pittsburgh, where she studied novel genetic drivers of ovarian cancer. She specializes in cancer biology, immunology, and genetics. Marisa began working with BioNews in 2018, and has written about science and health for SelfHacked and the Genetics Society of America. She also writes/composes musicals and coaches the University of Pittsburgh fencing club.
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