PASADENA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ARWR) today announced that it entered into an exclusive license agreement with GlaxoSmithKline (LSE/NYSE: GSK) under which GSK will develop and commercialize ARO-HSD, Arrowhead’s investigational RNA interference (RNAi) therapeutic in a Phase 1/2 trial that is currently being developed as a treatment for patients with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
“Genetic studies have shown that HSD17B13 is a compelling therapeutic target for multiple forms of liver disease. Based on the clinical results generated to date, including those recently presented at the 2021 AASLD Liver Meeting, ARO-HSD could have the potential to be the first investigational therapeutic to achieve robust reductions in mRNA and protein levels of hepatic HSD17B13, leading to reductions in ALT, a liver enzyme typically elevated in liver diseases such as NASH,” said Christopher Anzalone, Ph.D., Arrowhead’s president and CEO. “GSK has a global reach and impressive capabilities in the clinical development and commercialization of important medicines. As the work continues towards progressing further Phase 2 studies and planning Phase 3 studies for ARO-HSD, we believe this agreement with GSK furthers the potential of ARO-HSD as a promising new investigational therapeutic for patients with NASH and other liver diseases. We look forward to enabling GSK to advance ARO-HSD towards the millions of patients worldwide who do not have adequate treatment options.”
“NASH can be a life-threatening disorder in which excessive fat build-up in the liver causes inflammatory damage and fibrosis. The compelling genetic evidence linking HSD17B13 variants with protection of the liver from inflammatory injury suggests that there is an opportunity to produce a first-in-class medicine to reduce the clinical consequences of NASH. It’s exciting to advance Arrowhead’s promising RNAi approach into Phase 2 studies as an important potential new medicine for patients with NASH,” said John Lepore, SVP and Head of Research, GSK.
Under the terms of the agreement, Arrowhead will receive an upfront payment of $120 million and is eligible for additional payments of $30 million at the start of Phase 2 and $100 million upon achieving a successful Phase 2 trial readout and the first patient dosed in a Phase 3 trial. Furthermore, should the Phase 3 trial read out positively, and the potential new medicine receives regulatory approval in major markets, the deal provides for commercial milestone payments to Arrowhead of up to $190 million at first commercial sale, and up to $590 million in sales-related milestone payments. Arrowhead is further eligible to receive tiered royalties on net product sales.
GSK will receive an exclusive license to develop and commercialize ARO-HSD in all territories except Greater China, which will be retained by Arrowhead. GSK will be wholly responsible for further clinical development and commercialization, outside of Greater China.
The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2022, subject to customary closing conditions and clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended.
ARO-HSD is an investigational RNAi therapeutic targeting HSD17B13 as a potential treatment for patients with alcohol-related and nonalcohol related liver diseases, such as NASH. HSD17B13 is a member of the hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase family involved in the metabolism of hormones, fatty acids, and bile acids. Published human genetic data indicate that a loss of function mutation in HSD17B13 provides strong protection against alcoholic hepatitis, cirrhosis, and NASH, with approximately 30-50% risk reduction compared to non-carriers.1 ARO-HSD is being investigated in AROHSD1001 (NCT04202354), a Phase 1/2 single and multiple dose-escalating trial to evaluate the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamic effects of ARO-HSD in up to 74 normal healthy volunteers and patients with NASH or suspected NASH. Additional exploratory objectives of AROHSD1001 include the assessment of various measures of drug activity using liver biopsy.
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Source: Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
1 The New England Journal of Medicine. 2018, 1096-1106