Allergan has nullified its contract with Dong-A ST over the exclusive rights to develop and market evogliptin, a diabetes treatment developed by the Korean company, in the global market.
The cancellation of the license does not incur any fee. However, Dong-A ST will still keep its exclusive deal with Allergan in April last year to develop and market cenicriviroc, an experimental drug developed by Allergan to treat fatty liver disease, in Korea.
Dong-A ST said Wednesday that it had received such notice from the Ireland-based pharmaceutical company. Evogliptin, known as Suganon in Korea, is a dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP-4) inhibitor to treat diabetes.
In April 2016, Dong-A ST clenched a $61.5 million deal with Tobira to make a combination drug out of evogliptin and cenicriviroc, a non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) therapy. The Korean company also gained exclusive rights to develop and market cenicriviroc locally. Tobira was working on the new combo of the two medicines, after receiving approval for a phase-1 clinical trial on the combination therapy. As Allergan acquired Tobira in September last year, Allergan gained the development and marketing license for evogliptin.
Observers said Allergan’s abrupt notice of contract nullification is seemingly a choice for another NASH drug candidate that Allergan is jointly developing with Novartis. The new drug candidate under Allergan-Novartis partnership is reportedly at a faster development stage than evogliptin. Allergan seems to have chosen Novartis, instead of Dong-A ST, industry sources said.
An official at Dong-A ST said, however, the termination of the contract is “Allergan’s own R&D decision.” The official stressed that the cancellation of the license does not have to do with evogliptin’s effectiveness or development probability as NASH therapy.
With the nullification of Allegan’s rights to develop and market evogliptin in the global market, Dong-A ST is seeking new global business models that include developing a combo between evogliptin and diabetes drug candidate DA-11241 (GPR110 agonist with the US phase-1a clinical trial completed) to treat diabetes and NASH.
A recent non-clinical study showed that evogliptin was potent in abating fatty liver disease and fibrosis in animals with NASH. Evogliptin lowered the figure of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) Activity Score, or NAS, in a statistically meaningful way.
NAS represents the sum of scores for steatosis, lobular inflammation, and ballooning. Evogliptin’s effectiveness is equivalent to that of cenicriviroc, a phase-3 clinical trial drug to treat NASH, according to Dong-A ST.
<© Korea Biomedical Review, All rights reserved.>