Novo Nordisk Takes Over Prothena's ATTR Amyloidosis Business for $1.2 Billion

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Denmark-based global health care company Novo Nordisk has acquired the clinical stage antibody PRX004 and ATTR amyloidosis programs of late-stage clinical firm Prothena Corporation in a deal worth $1.2 billion. 

Under the terms of the definitive purchase agreement, Novo Nordisk will take over Prothena's wholly-owned subsidiary and gains full global intellectual property rights, as well as other related rights, for the latter's ATTR amyloidosis business and pipeline. In exchange, the Ireland headquartered firm will receive $1.2 billion in development and sales milestone payments, which includes $100 million in upfront and near-term clinical milestones payouts. 

ATTR amyloidosis is a rare, progressive, and fatal disease characterized by the abnormal growth of amyloid deposits in tissues and organs, most commonly in the nervous system and the heart. PRX004 is a phase 2-ready anti-amyloid immunotherapy designed to deplete the amyloid deposits linked with ATTR amyloidosis' disease pathology. In the phase 1 study, Prothena found PRX004 safe and well tolerated by patients who have hereditary forms of ATTR. 

After the takeover, Novo Nordisk will focus on developing PRX004 in ATTR cardiomyopathy. The disease that is often under-diagnosed but is potentially fatal. 

In a statement, Prothena chief medical officer Hideki Garren, MD, Ph.D., expressed optimism over the deal as Novo Nordisk is committed to developing PRX004 against the said heart disease. She added that Prothena would then focus on advancing its portfolio to address rare peripheral amyloid and neurodegenerative diseases. 

"Today's announcement is consistent with our commitment to create a better future for patients in critical need of new treatment options. We are confident that Novo Nordisk will leverage its extensive expertise in developing treatments for those affected by cardiovascular diseases to advance this promising potential treatment to patients on an expedited timeline," Dr. Garren was quoted as saying. 

Novo Nordisk chief scientific officer and EVP for research and early development, applauded the deal as it seeks to address a fatal disease with a "significant unmet medical need." He said that Prothena's pioneering efforts and Novo Nordisk's drive to develop disease-modifying therapies would greatly benefit people with cardiovascular illnesses. 

Novo Nordisk has been aggressively partnering with various biopharmaceutical companies in its search to finally develop a cure for different types of under-served diseases. In June 2021, the firm announced promising results of its diabetes cure study with Eli Lilly and obesity research with Lumen Bioscience. Its research on a potential diabetes drug that targets weight loss and A1C levels reportedly yielded positive results in patients with type 2 diabetes. Meanwhile, the partnership with Lumen seeks to harness previous research data to address obesity and other metabolic disorders.

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