Milestone fees to Medivir for inhibitors of polymerase NS5B could reach $420.86 million.

Medivir and Tibotec have enlarged their HCV partnership in a deal valued at $428.59 million. The new research, development, and license agreement seeks to identify and develop orally active inhibitors of the HCV polymerase NS5B.

Medivir will receive an upfront payment of €5 million, or $7.73 million. Tibotec will also make milestone payments of up to $219.70 million if one compound reaches the market and up to $420.86 million if two compounds receive approval in two indications.

Tibotec will own exclusive marketing rights in all countries except the Nordic countries where Medivir retains marketing rights. Medivir will receive a royalty on product sales. Tibotec will also fund the research work.

Medivir and Tibotec will screen new and existing libraries of nucleoside analogues, developed by Medivir, that show anti-HCV activity in vitro. The companies will work together in the preclinical phase to identify lead drug candidates. Tibotec will then undertake clinical development and marketing of selected compounds.

“Collaborating with Tibotec makes good sense when we are already engaged in the development of a compound with a different point of attack, namely the protease enzyme,” notes Medivir’s CEO, Lars Adlersson. The firms’ 2004 collaboration was inked to develop NS3/4A protease inhibitors for the treatment of chronic HCV. The compound, TMC435350, is in Phase IIa trials.

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