Worldwide rights of Vamorolone for DMD

Santhera exercises option to obtain worldwide rights of Vamorolone for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and All Other Indications

La Force is happy to share this press release provided by Santhera Pharmaceuticals > Pratteln, Switzerland, and Rockville, MD, USA, September 2, 2020


Santhera Pharmaceuticals announces that it has signed agreements with Idorsia and ReveraGen BioPharma Inc., making Santhera a direct license holder of vamorolone. Under the agreements, Santhera has obtained an exclusive license from ReveraGen, the originator of vamorolone, for all indications worldwide. The agreements create additional value for Santhera through the transfer of rights for the previously excluded markets Japan and South Korea, the right to grant sublicenses and a share in the expected Priority Review Voucher. Vamorolone, a first-in-class anti-inflammatory drug candidate with a novel mode of action, is currently being investigated in the pivotal Phase 2b VISION-DMD study in patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) by originator ReveraGen and completion of study enrollment is expected shortly.



  • The license gives Santhera worldwide rights to vamorolone, now also including the major markets Japan and South Korea, and paves the way for partnering in additional indications
  • Agreements with Idorsia and ReveraGen give Santhera immediate control over vamorolone and defer milestone-related payments
  • The transaction establishes Santhera as a leading company in rare neuromuscular diseases with two late-stage assets addressing the medical need of DMD patients from early to late disease stages


Dario Eklund, Chief Executive Officer of Santhera –  “We are excited about the license transfer of vamorolone to Santhera. Our decision to exercise the option now has been driven by a combination of factors including the availability of encouraging clinical efficacy and safety data with vamorolone, enhanced deal terms and the ability to gain full control over the asset. We look forward to contributing our significant expertise to advancing vamorolone in DMD and exploring additional business development opportunities. We believe that having two promising, complementary, late-stage assets for DMD in our pipeline will enable increased access to potentially transformative treatments for a wider patient population. We are grateful to Idorsia, our anchor shareholder, for enabling early access to the license, highlighting its confidence in Santhera as the best-suited company to bring vamorolone to patients.”


Eric Hoffman, Ph.D., Vice President of Research of ReveraGen BioPharma –  “We are delighted about the revised contractual arrangement and being able to work directly with Santhera as the licensee for vamorolone. Santhera’s experience in both development of DMD drug candidates and the commercialization of a rare disease product positions it well to bring vamorolone to patients. Our work to date clearly shows that vamorolone not only holds the potential to become a new standard of care for patients with DMD but also could benefit patients in a number of other inflammatory diseases.”


With Puldysa® and vamorolone, Santhera is building a complementary DMD product portfolio.

Vamorolone is in development for young DMD patients requiring an anti-inflammatory, muscle strengthening treatment before the onset of respiratory function decline. Based on the cumulative knowledge obtained from extensive non-clinical studies and Phase 1 and Phase 2a clinical studies with vamorolone, ReveraGen is currently conducting the pivotal Phase 2b VISION-DMD trial and anticipates full study enrollment shortly. Subject to positive results of the first 6-month treatment period, now expected in the second quarter of 2021 due to delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, this would pave the way for regulatory submission to the US FDA in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Puldysa (idebenone) for patients with DMD in respiratory function decline who are not taking glucocorticoids is currently under regulatory review in Europe for which Santhera anticipates a CHMP opinion in the fourth quarter of 2020. The Company expects the combination of vamorolone and Puldysa to address the medical needs of DMD patients, from early to late disease stages, irrespective of age, underlying dystrophin mutation or ambulatory status. 

Vamorolone and Puldysa have been granted Orphan Drug status in the US and Europe, Fast Track and Rare Pediatric Disease designations by the US FDA and Promising Innovative Medicine (PIM) status by the UK MHRA. In the UK, Puldysa is available to patients through the Early Access to Medicines Scheme (EAMS).


About Vamorolone

Vamorolone is a first-in-class anti-inflammatory drug candidate with a novel mode of action Vamorolone is a first-in-class drug candidate that binds to the same receptors as corticosteroids but modifies the downstream activity of the receptors. This has the potential to ‘dissociate’ efficacy from typical steroid safety concerns and, therefore, could emerge as a valuable alternative to corticosteroids, the current standard of care in children and adolescent patients with DMD. There is a clear unmet medical need in this patient group as high dose corticosteroids have significant systemic side effects that detract from the patient’s quality of life. Vamorolone is being developed by US-based ReveraGen BioPharma Inc. with participation in funding and design of studies by several international non-profit foundations, the US National Institutes of Health, the US Department of Defense and the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 program.


About Santhera

Santhera Pharmaceuticals is a Swiss specialty pharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of innovative medicines for rare neuromuscular and pulmonary diseases with a high unmet medical need. Santhera is building Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) product portfolio to treat patients irrespective of causative mutations, disease stage or age. A marketing authorization application for Puldysa® (idebenone) is currently under review by the European Medicines Agency. Santhera has an option to license vamorolone; a first-in-class dissociative steroid presently investigated in a pivotal study in patients with DMD to replace standard corticosteroids. Santhera out-licensed ex-North American rights to its first approved product; for further information, please visit www.santhera.com.


About ReveraGen BioPharma

ReveraGen was founded in 2008 to develop first-in-class dissociative steroidal drugs for Duchenne muscular dystrophy and other chronic inflammatory disorders. The development of ReveraGen’s lead compound, vamorolone, has been supported through partnerships with foundations worldwide, including Muscular Dystrophy Association USAParent Project Muscular DystrophyFoundation to Eradicate DuchenneSave Our SonsJoiningJackAction DuchenneCureDuchenne, Ryan’s Quest, Alex’s WishDuchenneUK, Pietro’s Fight, Michael’s Cause, and Duchenne Research Fund. ReveraGen has also received generous support from the US Department of Defense CDMRP, National Institutes of Health (NCATS, NINDS, NIAMS), and European Commission (Horizons 2020).


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