Akcea Therapeutics, a majority-owned affiliate of Ionis Pharmaceuticals, has signed an agreement to license investigative antisense therapy AKCEA-ANGPTL3-LRx to pharmaceutical company Pfizer.
Under the terms of the worldwide exclusive licensing agreement, Pfizer will pay an upfront license fee of $250m to Akcea and Ionis. The fee will be split equally between the two companies.
In return, Pfizer will receive the exclusive license for AKCEA-ANGPTL3-LRx, an investigational antisense therapy being developed to treat patients with certain cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.
The AKCEA-ANGPTL3-LRx will reduce the production of angiopoietin-like 3 (ANGPTL3) protein in the liver, a key regulator of triglycerides, cholesterol, glucose, and energy metabolism.
Pfizer said that the AKCEA-ANGPTL3-LRx is being evaluated in a Phase 2 study in patients with Type 2 diabetes, hypertriglyceridemia and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
Akcea interim CEO Damien McDevitt said: “AKCEA-ANGPTL3-LRx has the potential to treat people suffering from certain cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.
“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.
As per the deal, Akcea and Ionis will be eligible to receive development, regulatory and sales milestone payments of up to $1.3bn as well as tiered, double-digit royalties on annual global net sales following AKCEA-ANGPTL3-LRx’s marketing approval.
Pfizer worldwide research & development and medical chief scientific officer and president Mikael Dolsten said: “Pfizer is committed to delivering breakthrough medicines to patients with unmet medical needs.
“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.”
The deal is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and other customary closing conditions.