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Gilead and Scholar Rock collaborate on fibrosis in deal worth more than $80m

Published on 20/12/18 at 10:13am
Image Credit: Yale Rosen

California-based antiviral drugs specialist Gilead Sciences has entered into a strategic partnership with Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotech Scholar Rock as part of an effort to discover and develop treatments for fibrotic diseases.

The collaboration will be focused towards the discovery and development of highly specific inhibitors of transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) activation for the treatment of diseases related to fibrosis.

Fibrosis, the accumulation of extracellular matrix molecules that make up scar tissue, is a common feature of chronic tissue injury. The debilitating condition is a major cause of morbidity and mortality. The list of fibrotic diseases is diverse and includes: cystic fibrosis, Hepatitis C, cirrhosis, and interstitial lung disease.

“Gilead is committed to developing innovative therapies that address a range of fibrotic diseases, including non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and diabetic kidney disease,” said John McHutchison, MD, AO, Chief Scientific Officer and Head of Research and Development at Gilead Sciences. “We are excited to work with Scholar Rock to investigate this novel approach to TGFβ inhibition as an important aspect of our research programs in fibrotic diseases.”

Under the terms of the deal, Scholar Rock will receive a total $80 million, comprised of $50 million in cash and a $30 million purchase of Scholar Rock Holding Corporation common stock. In addition, Scholar Rock will receive a one-time milestone payment of $25 million upon the successful completion of specific preclinical studies and be eligible to receive up to an additional $1,425 million in potential payments aggregated across all three programs based on the successful achievement of certain research, development, regulatory and commercialization milestones.

Scholar Rock will also be eligible to receive high single-digit to low double-digit tiered royalties on sales of potential future products originating from the collaboration.

Louis Goss

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