Agreement calls for $193 million in success-based fees per compound identified.

Metabasis Therapeutics received $10 million upfront from Roche to help the firm advance its preclinical HCV program. Metabasis will apply its HepDirect® liver-targeting technology to Roche’s lead nucleosides.

Under the terms of the two-year agreement, Roche will pay up to $193 million in milestones per compound being developed. The fees cover preclinical and clinical achievements as well as regulatory and commercialization events. Once a candidate is identified, Roche will assume development responsibility. If the partnership results in a marketed product, Roche will retain full commercial rights and pay Metabasis a royalty on net sales.

“The HepDirect technology has shown significant promise in delivering the activated form of certain antiviral nucleosides to the liver and therefore has the potential to both enhance the antiviral activity of these nucleosides as well as to lower the effective dose,” according to Mark Erion, Ph.D., Metabasis’ CSO and evp of R&D.

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