Nimbus Therapeutics said yesterday it has won a $200 million milestone payment from Gilead Sciences based on progress in its clinical development of the allosteric acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC) inhibitor program with a nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) candidate that Gilead acquired from Nimbus earlier this year.

Gilead agreed in April to shell out up to $1.2 billion for Nimbus subsidiary Nimbus Apollo and its ACC inhibitor program in a deal that included lead candidate NDI-010976 (now GS-0976).

The lead candidate is a potent, liver-targeted, allosteric inhibitor of ACC isoforms ACC1 and ACC2 that has been indicated for NASH as well as potential treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma and other diseases. In animal models of fatty liver, ACC inhibition has been shown to reduce indicators of NASH progression that include hepatic fat content, inflammation, and fibrosis.

Under the April deal, Gilead agreed to pay Nimbus $400 million upfront and up to $800 million tied to achieving milestones—of which today’s $200 million marked the first milestone payment.

“We are thrilled at the rapid progress that Gilead has made in developing the ACC program, which is currently in Phase II clinical trials for NASH,” Nimbus CEO Don Nicholson, Ph.D., said in a statement.

“NDI-010976 is an important validation of our unique computational chemistry approach. We are applying this model to design medicines that have a meaningful impact on the mechanistically interrelated areas of metabolic disease, oncology, and immunology,” Dr. Nicholson added.

Nimbus said it has plowed back a “significant portion” of the proceeds from the upfront and first milestone payments toward expanding the company’s core capabilities and advancing preclinical candidates targeting tyrosine kinase 2 (Tyk2) allosteric inhibitors, STING (STimulator of INterferon Genes) nonnucleotide agonists for immuno-oncology and antagonists for autoimmune disease, as well as other undisclosed programs.

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