Gilead Sciences to Acquire Small Molecule Liver Drug Program from Phenex
Gilead Sciences, Inc. has agreed to acquire from Phenex Pharmaceuticals AG, a privately held German biotechnology company, Phenex's Farnesoid X Receptor (FXR) program comprising small molecule FXR agonists for the treatment of liver diseases, including nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Under the terms of the agreement, Gilead will pay Phenex an upfront payment plus additional payments based upon achievement of certain development milestones that may potentially be worth up to $470 million.
NASH is a common, serious chronic liver disease characterized by inflammation and excessive fat accumulation in the liver and may lead to progressive fibrosis, cirrhosis, and liver failure. NASH is estimated to affect 10 to 20% of people in the developed world. There are currently no approved therapies to treat NASH. FXR is a nuclear hormone receptor that regulates bile acid, lipid, and glucose homeostasis, which can help reduce liver steatosis and inflammation, and may help prevent liver fibrosis.
Phenex is a small private German biotechnology company founded in 2002 and located in Ludwigshafen, Germany, with a research site in Heidelberg. Phenex specializes in nuclear receptor drug discovery and has expertise in difficult-to-target emerging nuclear receptor targets.
Source: Gilead Sciences