Vanda Pharmaceuticals has acquired the US and Canadian rights to relapsing multiple sclerosis (RMS) therapy Ponvory (ponesimod) from Actelion Pharmaceuticals (Janssen), a Johnson & Johnson Company.

Ponvory is a daily oral selective sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor 1 (S1P1R) modulator.

It was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2021 and Health Canada for the treatment of adults with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis, including clinically isolated syndrome, relapsing-remitting disease and active secondary progressive disease.

According to the terms of the agreement, Vanda paid $100m to buy Ponvory’s rights.

Until the execution of a business licence agreement that transfers the regulatory and supply responsibility of Ponvory to Vanda, Janssen will keep running the business operations.

Vanda president, CEO and board chairman Mihael Polymeropoulos said: “The acquisition of Ponvory is a significant milestone for Vanda, as it expands our commercial portfolio and gives us access to a versatile immune response modifier that can potentially have broad application in treating a number of autoimmune-based disorders.”

In a clinical trial, the S1P1R modulator was found superior to another MS drug Aubagio in terms of the annual rate of relapse.

It was also related to fewer T2 and T1 MRI lesions against Aubagio.

In addition, around nine out of 10 patients who were administered Ponvory did not experience disability progression for two years.

According to Vanda, Ponvory may also be a useful therapeutic option for the management of a wide range of inflammatory and autoimmune conditions, including ulcerative colitis and psoriasis.

It has also shown its capability to lessen psoriasis symptoms and indicators in a randomised placebo-controlled clinical investigation.

Vanda’s exclusive financial advisor was Stifel for the acquisition.