Pharma Focus Asia

Karuna Therapeutics and Zai Lab Announce Strategic Collaboration for Development, Manufacturing, and Commercialization of KarXT in Greater China

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Karuna Therapeutics, Inc. a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company driven to create and deliver transformative medicines for people living with psychiatric and neurological conditions, and Zai Lab Limited (NASDAQ: ZLAB; HKEX: 9688), a patient-focused, innovative, commercial-stage, global biopharmaceutical company, today announced their entry into an exclusive license agreement for the development, manufacturing, and commercialization of KarXT (xanomeline-trospium) in Greater China, including mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan.

KarXT is an oral, investigational M1/M4-preferring muscarinic agonist that stimulates receptors in the central nervous system implicated in various psychiatric conditions. KarXT was designed to unlock the therapeutic potential of xanomeline, which demonstrated significant benefits in reducing symptoms of psychosis in Phase 2 studies in schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease, while ameliorating side effects seen in earlier studies. In the Phase 2 EMERGENT-1 trial, KarXT demonstrated clinically meaningful and statistically significant improvements in the primary endpoint of Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) total score, and in key secondary endpoints, including PANSS-positive subscore and PANSS-negative subscore, at week 5, and was generally well-tolerated.

Karuna is evaluating KarXT in late-stage clinical trials for the treatment of schizophrenia and psychosis in Alzheimer’s disease. The EMERGENT program, the clinical program evaluating KarXT for the treatment of schizophrenia, is underway. The EMERGENT program is comprised of the previously completed Phase 2 EMERGENT-1 trial and four ongoing Phase 3 trials, with data from EMERGENT-2 and EMERGENT-3, the two Phase 3 acute efficacy and safety trials, expected in mid-2022 and in the second half of 2022, respectively. Karuna plans to initiate the Phase 3 ARISE trial evaluating KarXT as an adjunctive treatment for schizophrenia in adults who inadequately respond to atypical antipsychotics in the fourth quarter of 2021. Additionally, Karuna also plans to initiate a Phase 3 program evaluating KarXT for the treatment of psychosis in Alzheimer’s disease in mid-2022 following encouraging results from the completed Phase 1b healthy elderly volunteer trial, which suggest that potentially therapeutic doses of KarXT can be administered to elderly adults while maintaining a favorable tolerability profile. Zai Lab will work with Karuna to design the optimal strategy to accelerate the development and regulatory timeline of KarXT in Greater China.

Under the terms of the agreement, Karuna will receive a $35 million upfront payment and is eligible to receive up to an additional $80 million in development and regulatory milestones. Karuna is also eligible to receive up to $72 million in sales milestones and low-double-digit to high-teens tiered royalties based on annual net sales of KarXT in Greater China. Zai Lab will fund substantially all development, regulatory, and commercialization activities in Greater China.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with Zai Lab, who shares our commitment to bringing transformative medicines to people living with psychiatric conditions globally,” said Steve Paul, M.D., chief executive officer, president, and chairman of Karuna Therapeutics. “With their proven record of successfully developing and commercializing novel therapies in Greater China, we believe that Zai Lab is the ideal partner to expand the global footprint for KarXT alongside our ongoing efforts in the U.S., with the goal of providing meaningful treatments to millions of people living with mental illness globally.”

“Our collaboration with Karuna is a significant milestone for Zai Lab, marking the expansion and diversification of our development and commercial portfolio into neuroscience, our fourth therapeutic area,” said Samantha Du, Ph.D., founder, chairperson and chief executive officer of Zai Lab. “KarXT is well positioned to serve as the anchor asset in our new neuroscience franchise. Zai Lab’s mission is to deliver innovative medicines to address unmet medical needs of patients, and we look forward to working with Karuna to bring KarXT to patients in need in Greater China as soon as possible.”

“There is a significant need for new and more effective therapies with improved safety to treat serious psychiatric conditions in Greater China,” said Gang Wang, M.D., Director of National Clinical Research Center for Mental Disorders, Dean of Beijing Anding Hospital, Capital Medical University. “Currently, more than 8 million people in Greater China are living with schizophrenia, yet fewer than half are receiving treatment, and even fewer are obtaining adequate symptom improvement from current treatment. We believe KarXT has the potential to provide a meaningful new treatment option for many patients living with schizophrenia and other conditions with disabling symptoms of psychosis.”

magazine-slider-imageMFA + MMA 2024CPHI Chine || PMEC China 2024Asia Healthcare Week 2024Advance DoE WorkshopNitrosamine Advance Workshop 2024CPHI Korea 2024CHEMICAL INDONESIA 2024INALAB 2024 Thermo Scientific - DynaDrive and DynaSpinDigital Health Asia 2024Rehab Expo 2024ISPE Singapore Affiliate Conference & Exhibition 20242024 PDA Pharmaceutical Manufacturing & Quality Conference2024 PDA Cell and Gene Pharmaceutical Products Conference 2024 PDA Aseptic Manufacturing Excellence Conference2024 PDA Aseptic Processing of Biopharmaceuticals ConferencePharma Quality Excellence Awards 20244th Annual Pharma GMP Quality Management 20243rd World ADC Asia 2024LogiPharma Asia 2024