Firms will collaborate on developing Reata’s AIM pipeline and identifying new Nrf2 activators.

Abbott is paying Reata Pharmaceuticals $400 million up front as part of a worldwide collaboration to jointly develop and commercialize the latter’s second-generation oral antioxidant inflammation modulator (AIM) portfolio. The deal expands the firms’ existing agreement, signed in September 2010, under which Abbott has exclusive rights to develop and commercialize Reata’s lead AIM compound, bardoxolone methyl (RTA 402), globally, excluding the U.S. and certain Asian markets. Bardoxolone methyl is currently undergoing a Phase III clinical study in patients with stage 4 chronic kidney disease and type 2 diabetes.

Under terms of the new deal Abbott and Reata will equally share costs and profits for all new AIMs in the majority of licensed indications, including pulmonary and central nervous system disorders, as well as immunology. Abbott will be responsible for 70% of the costs and retain 70% of the profits for AIM candidates developed for indications in rheumatoid arthritis and other selected autoimmune diseases. Clinical trials with the first compound are expected to start during 2012.

The firms have in addition established a research collaboration to discover new molecules that exhibit the same pharmacology as AIMs already in Reata’s pipeline. “This deal helps Reata advance new molecules into clinical development in multiple important diseases and enables our company to build a global commercial presence,” comments Warren Huff, CEO.

AIMs are transcription factor Nrf2 activators, designed to trigger the expression of a range of antioxidant, detoxification, and anti-inflammatory genes. Nrf2 activation also inhibits NF-KB, which regulates pro-inflammatory genes. Reata claims that Nrf2 suppression and NF-KB activation have been associated with a range of chronic diseases including multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic kidney disease, neurodegenerative disease, and COPD. 

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