Drug Research
Drug Discovery & Development

Boehringer, Dicerna partner on RNAi treatment for NASH

PBR Staff Writer Published 03 November 2017

Boehringer Ingelheim and Dicerna Pharmaceuticals have partnered to develop treatments for chronic liver diseases including Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH).

The research collaboration and license agreement between the partners pertains to the discovery and development of GalXC RNAi therapeutics, with an initial focus on NASH.

A chronic liver disease that can be devastating, NASH presently doesn’t have any approved treatment option.

As per the agreement terms, Dicerna will be entitled to be paid over $200m from Boehringer Ingelheim relating to a GalXC candidate product developed for addressing an undisclosed NASH target.

The amount will include an upfront payment, development and commercial milestone payments, along with reimbursement for research and development of the GalXC candidate product.

Additionally, Dicerna will also be paid royalties expected to be in double-digits on net sales of the subsequently launched drugs across the world.

Dicerna president and CEO Douglas Fambrough said: “We believe that Dicerna’s GalXC technology platform is ideally suited for the development of novel RNAi therapies for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis and other chronic liver diseases.

“With strong capabilities in drug discovery, deep expertise in the cardiometabolic space, and proven commercial experience, Boehringer Ingelheim is a natural partner to speed the development of the first GalXC RNAi program targeting chronic liver disease.”

According to the Massachusetts-based company, its GalXC technology platform uses RNAi to block the expression of disease-causing genes by killing their messenger RNAs (mRNAs).

Dicerna says that this new method can treat diseases by inhibiting drug targets that were previously inaccessible.

For the Germany-based Boehringer Ingelheim, RNAi would be a further breakthrough therapy opportunity in its cardiometabolic pipeline while giving the company more combination options.

Boehringer Ingelheim discovery research corporate senior vice president Clive Wood said: “At Boehringer Ingelheim, our research team is diligently working to discover effective new therapies for NASH and other chronic liver diseases, which is a priority area for us.

“This partnership complements our existing research efforts and expertise and offers distinct advantages in developing exciting new therapy options.”

Image: Boehringer signs deal with Dicerna for advancing RNAi therapeutics for liver diseases. Photo: courtesy of Madras150/Commons.wikimedia.org.