Amgen has inked two license and collaboration agreements with Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals to develop and commercialize RNA interference (RNAi) therapies for cardiovascular disease.

Amgen has secured a worldwide, exclusive license to Arrowhead's RNAi ARC-LPA program, which seeks to reduce elevated lipoprotein(a), a genetically validated, independent risk factor for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. In addition, Amgen has obtained an option to a worldwide, exclusive license for a RNAi therapy for an undisclosed genetically validated cardiovascular target. In both agreements, Amgen will be responsible for clinical development and commercialization.

Arrowhead will receive $35 million in upfront payments; $21.5 million in the form of an equity investment; and up to $617 million in option payments and development, regulatory, and sales milestone payments. Arrowhead is further eligible to receive single-digit royalties for sales of products against the undisclosed target and up to low-double-digit royalties for sales of products under the ARC-LPA agreement.

“Arrowhead's expertise in RNAi makes them a valuable partner as we translate genetic discoveries into potential therapies that can improve health outcomes for patients,” said Sean E. Harper, M.D., evp of research and development at Amgen. “This collaboration builds upon our commitment to cardiovascular disease with targets that we believe are uniquely suited for RNAi-based therapy.”

In March of last year, Arrowhead acquired Novartis’ full RNAi research and development portfolio and associated assets for $10 million in cash and $25 million in stock.