Gilead Sciences gained the exclusive rights to LG Life Sciences’ (LGLS) caspase inhibitors program to develop therapeutics for fibrotic diseases. The license came at an initial $20 million price.
The transaction could earn LGLS a further $182 million based on the achievement of certain development, regulatory, and commercial goals. The most advanced candidate included in this deal is in a Phase IIa trial in patients chronically infected with the hepatitis C virus.
Besides the upfront license fee, Gilead will also pay royalties on net sales. LGLS could earn up to $182 million in payments based upon the achievement of certain development, regulatory, and commercial milestones.
Gilead's license is worldwide with the exception of Korea, China, and India where LGLS has retained rights. LGLS also has the worldwide right to develop and commercialize caspase inhibitors for ophthalmic and topical uses.
Caspases are cellular proteases involved in processes such as apoptosis and inflammation. By inhibiting various caspases, it may be possible to slow or stop the progression of fibrosis in the liver for patients with chronic viral hepatitis and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis as well as in other fibrotic diseases such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, according to the firms.
Lead candidate, LB84451, is being developed as an oral, once-daily pan-caspase inhibitor. It has reportedly demonstrated safety and tolerability in healthy volunteers in a 14-day Phase I study. The mid-stage trial is ongoing in Europe.