US orphan-drug developer Vanda Pharmaceuticals explores sale

Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc, a US orphan-drug developer focused on developing treatment for the central nervous system, is considering strategic alternatives including a potential sale, Reuters yesterday reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Vanda, which has explored selling itself in the past, is in talks with investment banks about appointing a financial adviser to help it review its options, the report said.

Washington, DC-based Vanda, which has a market cap of $720 million, has two neurological drugs, Hetlioz and Fanapt.

Hetlioz has received US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval in 2014 for the treatment of sleep-wake disorder. It has also been approved in 2015 by the European Commision for the treatment of totally blind adults in the European Union.

Fanapt has been approved by the FDA  for the treatment of schizophrenia in adults. Vanda currently has distribution partnerships for Fanapt in Israel and Mexico.

Currently Fanapt is being distributed by Novartis in North America, and recently this year the company inked distribution deals for Mexico and Argentina.

It also has Tasimelteon, a phase III sleep disorder drug that has earned orphan drug status from the FDA and already had positive clinical trials.