Gilead Sciences, Inc. and Phenex Pharmaceuticals AG, announced the establishment of a contract in which Gilead is set to acquire the Farnesoid X Receptor (FXR) program of Phenex for the application of small molecule FXR agonists to treat liver diseases such as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Gilead will have to pay an upfront sum to Phenex based on a development estimated to be worth as much as $470 million.
NASH is a very serious chronic liver disease characterized by excessive fat and inflammation within the liver. It can cause progressive fibrosis, also cirrhosis and, ultimately, liver failure. There are no approved therapies to treat this condition. Estimates suggest that NASH affects about ten to twenty percent of people in the developed world.
FXR is a nuclear hormone that acts as a receptor involved in the regulation of lipid, bile acid, glucose homeostasis. It also has an important role in reducing liver steatosis and inflammation, and it has also been found to help prevent liver fibrosis.
The CEO of Phenex, Claus Kremoser, said in a press release: “This agreement represents a significant milestone for our company and for the field of liver disease research. After 15 years of research, FXR is now one of the few clinically validated targets for NASH and we are delighted that Gilead will be continuing the research necessary to more fully realize its potential for advanced liver disease.”
The Gilead’s Vice President, Norbert W. Bischofberger, PhD, stated: “The acquisition of Phenex’s FXR program represents an important opportunity to accelerate Gilead’s efforts to develop new treatment options that address fibrotic liver diseases. We look forward to working closely with Phenex’s research and development team to advance the FXR program into clinical development as quickly as possible to explore its potential in areas of significant unmet need.”
Notes About Phenex Pharmaceuticals AG And Gilead Sciences, Inc.
Phenex is a German biotechnology company located in Ludwigshafen and was founded in 2002. It has a long history in nuclear receptor drug discovery.
Gilead Sciences is a biotechnology company located in Foster City, California and is committed to advance care for patients suffering with life-threatening diseases.