Novo Nordisk Inks Potential $255M Deal with EraCal, Targets Another Obesity Asset

Novo Nordisk_iStock, hapabapa

Pictured: Novo Nordisk building in California/iStock, hapabapa

While Novo Nordisk’s blockbuster obesity portfolio continues to rake in cash, the Danish pharma is looking to target a novel mechanism of action controlling appetite and body weight under a potential 235 million euros ($255 million) collaboration and license deal with Swiss biotech EraCal Therapeutics announced Tuesday.

Under the agreement, Novo Nordisk has obtained all exclusive rights to develop and commercialize EraCal’s oral small molecule asset to control appetite and body weight with an eye toward treating obesity. In return, EraCal will receive upfront, development, and commercial milestones of the asset for potentially $255 million and royalties on sales once the product hits the market.

“This is an important agreement for EraCal Therapeutics as it showcases the team’s capabilities to identify new mechanisms of action and to discover and develop small molecules to target these biological pathways,” EraCal CEO Josua Jordi said in a statement. “We consider Novo Nordisk the ideal partner to bring this program to patients and are excited to join forces to lead innovation.”

EraCal and Novo Nordisk have been working together since 2022. The two companies entered into a research collaboration to find drug targets for food intake regulation and other metabolic phenotypes. The partnership called for both companies to investigate new molecules that can act against obesity. These included zebrafish larvae, which EraCal billed as an “emerging” drug discovery platform to find new targets.

“EraCal Therapeutics brings a unique drug discovery approach for obesity and other metabolic diseases,” Bei Zhang, therapeutic area head of diabetes, obesity, and MASH at Novo Nordisk, said in a statement. “We look forward to working with the EraCal team to realize the value of their platform and discover innovative medicines for people living with obesity.”

While the Danish pharma has seen blockbuster success in the obesity field with weight-loss therapy Wegovy (semaglutide), that has not stopped Novo Nordisk from searching for other drug targets for the condition. In 2021, Novo partnered with Seattle-based Lumen Biosciences to find R&D targets within obesity.

Novo’s search for additional targets comes as it is staring down competition in the obesity space as Eli Lilly is on its heels with its own recently approved weight-loss drug Zepbound, while other large pharma companies are kicking off major trials and R&D efforts to get into the lucrative market.

Tyler Patchen is a staff writer at BioSpace. You can reach him at tyler.patchen@biospace.com. Follow him on LinkedIn.

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