Akcea Therapeutics, Inc., an affiliate of Ionis Pharmaceuticals, and Pfizer, have entered into an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement for AKCEA-ANGPTL3-LRx, an investigational antisense therapy being developed to treat certain cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.
AKCEA-ANGPTL3-LRx is designed to reduce the production of angiopoietin-like 3 (ANGPTL3) protein in the liver, a key regulator of triglycerides, cholesterol, glucose and energy metabolism. AKCEA-ANGPTL3-LRx is currently being evaluated in a Phase 2 study in patients with Type 2 diabetes, hypertriglyceridemia and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
Akcea and Ionis will receive a $250 million upfront, split equally. Akcea will settle its $125 million obligation to Ionis in Akcea common stock. The companies are also eligible to receive development, regulatory and sales milestones of up to $1.3 billion and royalties on sales. Future milestone payments and royalties will be split equally between Akcea and Ionis. Pfizer is responsible for all development and regulatory activities and costs beyond those associated with the ongoing Phase 2 study. Prior to regulatory filing for marketing approval, Akcea has the option to participate in certain commercialization activities with Pfizer in the U.S. and additional markets based on meeting pre-defined criteria.
“AKCEA-ANGPTL3-LRx has the potential to treat people suffering from certain cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Given the unmet medical need for this patient population and the broad market potential, we believe Pfizer’s expertise and breadth of experience in cardiovascular and metabolic diseases makes it well suited to accelerate clinical development of AKCEA-ANGPTL3-LRx, and to deliver it to patients in need of additional therapies for these life threatening diseases,” said Damien McDevitt, Ph.D., interim chief executive officer at Akcea.
“Pfizer is committed to delivering breakthrough medicines to patients with unmet medical needs,” said Mikael Dolsten, chief scientific officer and president, Worldwide R&D and Medical, Pfizer. “AKCEA-ANGPTL3-LRx is a novel therapy that will complement our clinical mid-stage internal medicine pipeline, and we believe that our deep expertise in cardiovascular and metabolic diseases will help allow this program to reach its maximum potential for patients.”