Boehringer, MiNA Therapeutics Forge EUR 307M R&D NASH Tie-Up


Fresh off the heels of a $201 million liver disease R&D deal with Massachusetts-based Dicerna Pharmaceuticals, Boehringer Ingelheim  has struck another deal targeting liver disease with England-based MiNA Therapeutics.

This morning, Boehringer Ingelheim announced a collaboration and licensing agreement to treat fibrotic liver diseases such as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) using MiNA’s small activating RNA (saRNA) therapeutics platform. Boehringer said the agreement underscores its commitment to developing new therapeutics for cardiometabolic diseases. Boehringer said saRNAs have been shown to activate transcription of specific genes resulting in upregulation of proteins with therapeutic potential. Through the collaboration with MiNA, Boehringer said the companies aim to identify targets to restore metabolic functionality of hepatocytes and prevent fibrotic tissue formation in patients with NASH.

NASH is expected to soon become the most common cause of advanced liver disorders. It is caused by the buildup of fat in the liver, which can lead to liver fibrosis and cirrhosis. NASH is highly prevalent amongst patients with type 2 Diabetes.

Additionally, Boehringer said it may see opportunities to pair MiNa’s technology with its other NASH pipeline assets. In August, Boehringer initiated a Phase IIa trial for BI 1467335 in NASH. Boehringer acquired the compound, an oral inhibitor of amine oxidase, copper containing 3, in 2015 from Pharmaxis. In 2016, Boehringer Ingelheim obtained Fast Track Designation from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the development of BI 1467335 in NASH. Boehringer Ingelheim has also established a portfolio of products for thromboembolic diseases, type 2 diabetes, acute myocardial infarction, hypertension and cardio-renal risk reduction.

Under the terms of the agreement, MiNA will receive an upfront payment and committed research funding as well as potential research, development and regulatory milestone payments totaling up to €307 million ($355 million). In addition, MiNA is entitled to up to double-digit royalties on sales of selected products resulting from the partnership. No further financial details have been disclosed.

“This collaboration is a recognition of our platform and expertise in liver-based diseases as well as validation from an established pharmaceutical leader in what has been an exciting year for the company,” MiNA Chief Executive Officer Robert Habib said in a statement.

MiNA is currently conducting a Phase I trial in liver cancer with its MTL-CEBPA product, small activating RNAs encapsulated in nanoparticles called Smarticles.

The deal with MiNA will pair up with the deal Boehringer struck with Dicerna earlier this week. In that deal, the two companies will develop novel GalXC RNAi therapeutics for the treatment of chronic liver diseases. Using its GalXC RNAi technology platform, Dicerna focuses on various liver diseases and cardiovascular disease. Dicerna’s GalXC enables subcutaneous delivery of Dicerna’s RNAi therapies to hepatocytes in the liver, where they are designed to specifically bind to receptors on target cells, potentially leading to internalization and access to the RNAi machinery within the cells.

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