Drug is in Phase I for acute respiratory distress syndrome, and Apeiron could earn almost $380 million in milestones.

GlaxoSmithKline is paying Apeiron Biologics £11 million (roughly $17.52 million) in cash and equity investments up front as part of an exclusive licensing deal for APN01, Apeiron’s early clinical-stage recombinant human angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). The firm could also receive another £207 million (about $379.74 million) in milestones plus sales royalties if the drug is commercialized for multiple indications. APN01 is currently in Phase I trials for the treatment of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

Apeiron is a privately funded biotech company based in Vienna. In addition to APN01, the firm has two preclinical programs. In one the company is working to on the inhibition of the E3 ubiquitin ligase Cbl-b as a potential anticancer strategy as well as on the discovery of Cbl-b agonists as potential treatments for autoimmune disease. Apeiron is currently collaborating with the University of Innsbruck to carry out transient ex-vivo silencing of Cbl-b in lymphocytes using siRNA.

The firm’s other preclinical program, meanwhile, is focused on a pain target known as DREAM (downstream regulatory element antagonistic modulator). It aims to identify compounds that interfere with the binding of DREAM to its respective DNA motif as a way to boost the body’s natural production of the endogenous opioid dynorphin.

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