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Novartis enters license agreement with Pliant Therapeutics for fibrosis assets

Published on 24/10/19 at 10:50am

Novartis has signed a collaboration and license agreement with Pliant Therapeutics to develop and commercialise preclinical asset PLN-1474 which is designed to inhibit the αVβ1 integrin.

The agreement also reaches global exclusive licenses for up to three additional integrin targets.

PLN-1474 is designed to treat non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)-related liver fibrosis which has the potential to cause complications including cirrhosis and liver failure.

αvβ1 is an integrin triggers TGF-β, which regulates hepatic fibrosis. With selective αVβ1 inhibition, PLN-1474 demonstrated a significant reduction of fibrosis in live models of human tissue.

To start with, Novartis will pay $80 million to Pliant which includes an upfront payment and equity investment. The company has also agreed to fund research and development activities carried out by Pliant as part of the arrangement.

Pliant is already developing PlN-1474 through phase 1 studies and Novartis will now be responsible for future development, manufacturing and commercialisation.

Bernard Coulie, President and Chief Executive Officer at Plaint Therapeutics, said: “Our research continues to generate compelling preclinical evidence that supports the advancement of PLN-1474 as a clinical candidate and validates our approach of evaluating αVβ1 integrin inhibition to treat advanced liver fibrosis associated with NASH.

“Pairing Pliant’s leading integrin biology and drug discovery capabilities with Novartis, a world-leader with one of the broadest pipelines investigating mono and combination therapies for liver diseases including NASH, will support our goal of developing novel therapies for fibrotic diseases and potentially bring meaningful treatment options to patients.”

NASH associated cirrhosis is the fast growing indication for liver transplantation in the United States. While several investigational agents target mechanisms that impact the earlier stages of the NASH continuum, Pliant is targeting αvβ1, an integrin that activates TGF-β, a putative master regulator of hepatic fibrosis.

Pliant Therapeutics is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing new therapies for the treatment of fibrosis.

Pliant expects to submit the new drug application to the US FDA before the end of 2019.

Nik Kiran

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