Organon to acquire Finland pharma company with novel treatment for endometriosis in its pipeline

Global health care company — and Merck spinoff — Organon will acquire Finland-based Forendo Pharma, according to a joint Thursday announcement.

The transaction includes a $75 million upfront payment, assumption of approximately $9 million of Forendo debt, payments upon the achievement of certain development and regulatory milestones of up to $270 million and commercial milestone payments of up to $600 million, which together could amount to total consideration of $954 million.
The deal is expected to close in December 2021.

Forendo is pioneering the science of intracrinology, addressing disease through a novel, tissue-specific approach. Its lead clinical compound is an investigational, potentially first-in-class oral 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1, or HSD17B1, inhibitor in early clinical development for endometriosis, being evaluated for its potential effect on endometriotic lesions.

Endometriosis is a common and chronic condition that affects up to 1 in 10 women of reproductive age, causes abdominal pain and is associated with infertility.

“Organon is dedicated to delivering medically significant women’s health care interventions, prioritizing disease areas based on her unmet needs. Endometriosis is among our highest priority areas of focus,” said Kevin Ali, Organon’s CEO. “Our acquisition of Forendo further demonstrates our commitment to building a pipeline of impactful treatment options for women with unmet medical needs.”

Forendo’s pipeline also includes a preclinical program targeting polycystic ovarian syndrome, one of the most common women’s health conditions, often associated with metabolic disorders, hyperandrogenism and infertility.

Risto Lammintausta, CEO of Forendo, emphasized the importance of the transaction: “This is a great opportunity for Forendo to join forces with a larger organization capable of accelerating the development of our innovative product candidates through mid- and late-stage trials and, once approved, make the resulting drugs available to patients suffering from endometriosis and PCOS worldwide. Based on the preclinical data, we believe our novel therapeutic mechanisms hold promise in therapeutic areas where patients currently have limited options.”