Gilead and Goldfinch Bio Enter $2 Billion-Plus Partnership to Develop Kidney Disease Drugs

scientist pipetting into tube, wearing gilead lab coat

Foster City, Calif.-based Gilead Sciences and Cambridge, Mass.-based Goldfinch Bio inked a multi-year collaboration deal to discover, develop and commercialize drugs for diabetic kidney disease (DKD) and some orphan kidney diseases.

Under the terms of the deal, Gilead holds exclusive options to license worldwide rights to specific products directed toward targets coming out of Goldfinch’s proprietary Kidney Genome Atlas (KGA). KGA is a comprehensive registry of patients with kidney diseases. It integrates genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic data along with patient clinical profiles. Also, Goldfinch will use its biology platform of human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived kidney cells and kidney organoids to validate targets and assist in the discovery and development of the product Gilead holds option rights to.

Gilead will pay Goldfinch $55 million up front, including a $5 million equity investment, and another $54 million to support the development of the KGA platform for DKD. Goldfinch is also eligible to receive up to $1.95 billion in potential milestone payments for the first five collaboration programs, as well as tiered royalties on sales of potential products that come out of the partnership.

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Also, Goldfinch holds the option to share equally in U.S. profits for specific optioned products in specific pre-defined kidney indications.

Goldfinch’s own lead program is GFB-887, a TRPC5 ion channel inhibitor in development for the treatment of Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), a rare kidney disease characterized by severe scarring of the kidney’s glomeruli. This leads to proteinuria, an excess of essential proteins in the urine.

Goldfinch was founded in 2016 by Third Rock Ventures. On April 15, 2019, the company presented data on GFB-887, as well as its KGA, at the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) World Congress 2019 held in Melbourne, Australia.

Anthony Johnson, president and chief executive officer of Goldfinch stated at the time, “The comprehensive body of data presented by the Goldfinch team at the ISN World Congress 2019 clearly demonstrate the significant advances that Goldfinch Bio is making towards the development of novel therapeutics for kidney disease. The Goldfinch KGA, which is the backbone of our product engine, has enabled the discovery of genetic variants associated with kidney disease. These genetic variants, combined with the integration of clinical and transcriptomic data, advance our understanding of the molecular causes of kidney diseases and drive our development pipeline.”

As part of its deal with Gilead, Goldfinch plans to expand the scope of the KGA beyond orphan kidney diseases to include DKD. It will sequence the DNA of a large cohort of diabetic patients with and without kidney disease.

“Goldfinch has established unique genetic and biology platforms that will allow for the identification and validation of novel targets for kidney disease and for the discovery and development of novel compounds,” stated John McHutchison, Gilead’s chief scientific officer and Head of Research and Development. “We look forward to partnering with our research collaborators at Goldfinch, as we seek to advance novel treatment options for people living with DKD and other serious kidney diseases.”

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