Nestlé Health Science will use Codexis’ CodeEvolver® protein engineering platform through a multiproject partnership that includes Nestlé gaining an option for global development of Codexis’ lead biotherapeutic candidate, phenylketonuria (PKU) candidate CDX-6114, the companies said today.

Using CodeEvolver—designed to enable rapid development of highly optimized proteins, custom-designed for specific applications—Nestlé Health Science aims to discover biotherapeutics for other metabolic disorders, as well as develop novel enzyme products for its medical nutrition and consumer care business areas.

Strengthening its presence in enzymes was a key aim of entering into the partnership with Codexis, Nestlé Health Science CEO Greg Behar said in a statement.

Under the option, Nestlé Health Science has agreed to pay Codexis $14 million upfront, as well as payments tied to achieving clinical development, approval, and commercial milestones related to CDX-6114, plus tiered royalties on product sales.

Codexis has agreed to pay clinical development costs for CDX-6114 up to and including Phase I in healthy volunteers. After Phase I, Nestlé Health Science will have an option to obtain an exclusive global license to CDX-6114 and will be responsible for all future development and commercialization, the companies said.

CDX-6114 is a preclinical enzyme therapy, for which Codexis said in August it hopes to begin human trials for the PKU candidate in early 2018

Beyond CDX-6114, Nestlé Health Science has also gained a right of first negotiation over enzyme therapies for inborn errors of amino acid metabolism. That right covers treatments that Codexis has in its pipeline or may discover over the next five years, according to Codexis and Nestlé Health Science.

“This transaction validates our CodeEvolver protein engineering platform technology as a biotherapeutic discovery engine, and also highlights our ability to establish customized partnerships for unlocking the power of proteins with a growing list of the world’s great companies,” Codexis president and CEO John Nicols said in a statement.  “We look forward to a long-term and very productive relationship with the team at Nestlé Health Science.”

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