MELBOURNE, Australia, Jan. 06, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Following the US$1.7B proposed takeover of Tobira by Allergan, three more Licensing Mergers & Acquisitions (LM&A) transactions over the past two months, continue to highlight the importance of NASH (non-alcoholic steatohepatitis) assets to large pharmas.
In mid-November 2016, BMS announced that it had acquired the world-wide rights to Nitto Denko’s ND-L02-s0201 for a US$100M upfront consideration plus additional undisclosed clinical and regulatory milestone payments, royalties, sales-based milestone payments, as well as option exercise payments for other indications. ND-L02-s0201 is a siRNA that is designed to inhibit heat shock protein 47, which is thought to play a role in fibrogenesis.
In late-December 2016, Novartis announced that it had paid an upfront consideration of US$50M, plus undisclosed milestones and other payments, for the exclusive rights to Conatus’s Emricasan, a phase II pan-caspase inhibitor for the treatment of NASH with advanced fibrosis scarring and cirrhosis.
In addition, on 5 January 2017, JNJ announced that they entered into a collaboration and option agreement with Bird Rock Bio, which is evaluating a Cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1)-targeting antibody, namacizumab, which is in Phase I clinical trial. JNJ will collaborate with Bird Rock Bio during the trial and has the exclusive right to acquire the company following the Phase I data readout, for undisclosed terms.
Thomas Liquard, CEO of Immuron commented:
“It comes as no surprise that big pharmas continue to buy a diverse group of NASH assets, as we believe that the market carries the potential for multiple blockbuster approvals. This is partially driven by the growing evidence that NASH is a multi-factorial disease, and that a combination therapy approach will most likely be needed to effectively treat the disease. Another major factor is the size of the potential market which is driven by the ever-growing world-wide obesity and diabetes epidemic.
We therefore expect this LM&A trend to continue through 2017 and beyond.”
Immuron is currently running three Phase II clinical trials in fatty-liver diseases with its lead asset, IMM-124E, including in NASH, ASH (Alcoholic Steatohepatitis) and Pediatric NASH. Both the ASH and Pediatric NASH trials are fully funded by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH).
IMM-124E works upstream, and on several pathways, to reduce liver inflammation and is thus a completely unique treatment option compared to other leading investigational agents. We believe that the therapeutic potential of this broad and unique mechanism of action is the reason why IMM-124E was selected as the principal investigational agent for the two NIH-funded clinical trials and also why IMM-124E has the potential to be one of the backbone therapies for NASH patients.
Immuron Ltd (ASX:IMC) (OTCQB:IMROY) is a microbiome company focused on developing and commercialising oral immunotherapeutics for the treatment of a many gut mediated diseases. Immuron has a unique and safe technology platform that enables a shorter development therapeutic cycle. The Company currently markets and sells Travelan® for the prevention of Travellers’ diarrhoea, whilst its lead product candidate IMM-124E is in Phase 2b clinical trials for NASH and ASH. These products together with the Company’s other preclinical immunotherapy pipeline products targeting immune-related diseases currently under development, will meet a large unmet need in the market.
For more information visit: http://www.immuron.com/
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