Yuhan announced a joint development and licensing agreement with Boehringer Ingelheim, for developing dual agonist innovative drugs with the activity of GLP-1 and FGF21 to treat nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and related liver disease.
|Yuhan's headquarters in Daebang-dong, Seoul.|
Under this agreement, Yuhan will receive $40 million as a down payment, and up to $830 million in milestone payments and additional royalties on net sales in the future.
Yuhan will pay 5 percent of total technology exports to Genexine as it used Genexine's platform technology to develop the candidate substance.
Through the joint development, the two companies expect to create synergy by combining Boehringer Ingelheim's expertise and dedication to provide innovative medicines to patients with cardiovascular, metabolic disorders and Yuhan's expertise in FGF21, obesity, and NASH.
Boehringer Ingelheim said the company believes it is challenging to achieve mitigation effects in severe NASH patients by targeting only one characteristic of NASH. The company has built a comprehensive program to develop next-generation therapies that target all three key NASH factors -- lipid disorders, inflammation, and fibrosis.
Preclinical studies show that GLP-1 and FGF21, a hormone produced by the viscera, are highly effective when combined.
The company expects that the GLP1R and FGF21R dual agonists will reduce hepatocyte damage and liver inflammation by eliminating lipid hepatitis and direct anti-fibrosis effects.
"We can apply Boehringer Ingelheim's clinical expertise to developing drugs that will bring meaningful changes to patients with NASH," Yuhan CEO Lee Jung-hee said. "The substance, developed by Yuhan, is a fusion protein that uses Genexine's long-acting (HyFc) technology."
It is not only the first business partnership with other companies concerning biopharmaceuticals but also the first export of a locally developed biopharmaceutical technology to treat NASH, Lee added.
Michel Pairet, a Boehringer Ingelheim director responsible for innovation, also said, "Our company is pleased to extend long-standing partnership with Yuhan. Based on this collaboration, Boehringer Ingelheim has moved one step closer to the next generation of treatments for patients with NASH."
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