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Pfizer to develop Akcea/Ionis’ Antisense Drug for up to $1.5bn

Published on 08/10/19 at 09:24am

Pfizer and Akcea Therapeutics have entered into an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement for Akcea’s phase 2 cardiovascular and metabolic candidate AKCEA-ANGPTL3- LRx in a deal that could generate over $1.5 billion for Akcea and its parent company Ionis Pharmaceuticals.

AKCEA-ANGPTL3- LRx is an antisense therapy designed to reduce the produce of angiopoietin-like 3 (ANGPTL3) protein in the liver, which is a key regulator of triglycerides, cholesterol, glucose and energy metabolism.

AKCEA-ANGPTL3- LRx was developed using Ionis’ advanced Ligand Conjugated Antisense (LICA) technology platform which is a chemical modification that combines with antisense therapies, targeting them to specific tissues and increasing the efficiency of drug uptake.

According to Ionis, the aim is to apply LICA technology in order to develop a class of antisense medicines that can treat conditions with less frequent and smaller doses in both large and small patient populations.

AKCEA-ANGPTL3- LRx is currently being assessed in a phase 2 study in patients with type 2 diabetes, hypertriglyceridemia, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. The 144-participant trial is designed to evaluate the safety, including tolerability of AKCEA-ANGPTL3- LRx as well as to assess the efficacy of different doses and dosing regimens.

Damien McDevitt, Interim Chief Executive Officer at Akcea, said: “Given the unmet medical need for this patient population and the broad market potential, we believe Pfizer’s expertise and breadth of experience in cardiovascular and metabolic diseases makes it well suited to accelerate clinical development of AKCEA-ANGPTL3-LRx, and to deliver it to patients in need of additional therapies for these life threatening diseases.”

Mikael Dolsten, Chief Scientific Officer at Pfizer, added: “AKCEA-ANGPTL3-LRx is a novel therapy that will complement our clinical mid-stage internal medicine pipeline, and we believe that our deep expertise in cardiovascular and metabolic diseases will help allow this program to reach its maximum potential for patients.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Akcea and Ionis will receive a $250 million upfront license fee, which will be split equally between the two companies.

Nik Kiran

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