Competition Heating up in the Botulinum Toxin Market
Allergan to Acquire Bonti in Another Strategic Acquisition
Over the last few years, Allergan has strategically integrated potential competitors to offer a complete portfolio across the aesthetics space. These include the acquisitions of Zeltiq Aesthetics in 2017 for its body contouring technology, CoolSculpting, and Kythera Pharmaceuticals in 2015 for its fat reduction injectable KYBELLA, the only FDA approved product for submental fat reduction. To meet this end goal, Allergan acquired ANTERIOS in 2016 for its developmental-stage topical BTX product ANT-1207, considering a topical BTX product will be the holy grail for skin treatments because of the non-invasive nature.
In line with this trend, last week Allergan acquired Bonti, a private clinical-stage biotechnology company, founded by a group that includes former senior officials at Allergan. As a part of this deal, Allergan has received global rights to two of Bonti’s botulinum toxin serotype E (BTX-E) products, EB-001A for aesthetic indications and EB-001T for therapeutic indications.
Positive phase 2 results for EB-001A in treatment of glabellar lines were announced mid last year. The therapeutic product, EB-001T, is also being evaluated for scar reduction following Mohs surgery, with positive Phase 2 data being announced recently; a phase 2 trial is also currently underway for the product’s use in focal muscle pain, where it may provide an alternative to opioids.
Allergan will likely use Bonti’s EB-001A to attract first-time users of botulinum toxin. EB-001A is fast acting, with effects becoming noticeable before 24 hours compared with 3 to 7 days for BOTOX. Additionally, the 2- to 4-week duration of results will provide customers with an opportunity to sample the effects of botulinum toxin without committing to the 3-month duration of BOTOX. EB-001A will also provide greater flexibility because some consumers want a temporary but on-demand effect.
At $195 million, Bonti seems to have achieved a strong exit based on previous funding rounds. The acquisition by Allergan will provide resources and funding to conduct a phase 3 trial for its products, something that may have been challenging for Bonti without giving up a large equity stake to secure the required capital.
Competition between Allergan and its competitors will increase in the coming years with both longer-lasting and fast-acting, shorter duration products from multiple new competitors set to enter the US botulinum toxin market. The acquisition of Bonti will provide Allergan with a first-mover advantage in the new fast-acting botulinum toxin segment. In addition, the recent announcement that the treatment duration of BOTOX for glabellar lines can be extended in roughly one-third of patients by doubling the dose will enable Allergan to remain competitive against the longer lasting RT002 being developed by Revance Therapeutics.
Overall, the acquisition is a win-win situation for both companies because it increases diversity and innovation across Allergan’s product portfolio and provides EB-001 with the necessary resources needed to enter the competitive therapeutic and aesthetic botulinum toxin markets.