Bristol-Myers Squibb has acquired the rights to an early-stage drug candidate targeting liver fibrosis that occurs as a result of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
The biotech company will pay $100 million upfront to Japan’s Nitto Denko who developed this drug.
Nitto will be able to receive a number of clinical and regulatory milestone payments and royalties under the deal, reported Reuters. BMS will also have the ability to option exclusive licensing rights for other drugs Nitto is working on for potentially treating lung fibrosis and similar conditions.
The drug BMS is incorporating into its portfolio is a siRNA inhibitor designed to inhibit heat shock protein 47, explained Endpoints News. The hope is that the drug attacking this protein may impede the production of collagen that plays a part in the formation of fibrosis and NASH.
Investigators are currently running a Phase 1b study to track how this drug could perform that action on patients over the course of 5 weeks.
Mergers and acquisition deals have been particularly active in the NASH space over the past few months.
Allergan acquired a slew of companies specializing in this type of drug development. Gilead reported promising data for a NASH candidate that lead to mixed but well tolerated results in improving liver fibrosis as well.
An analysis published by Thompson Reuters in February noted this development area could yield over $1 billion in sales for companies who create a potent drug.
Filed Under: Drug Discovery