Akcea Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: AKCA), a majority-owned affiliate of Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: IONS) and Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE), today announced that the companies have entered into a worldwide exclusive licensing agreement for AKCEA-ANGPTL3-LRx, an investigational antisense therapy being developed to treat patients with certain cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.
AKCEA-ANGPTL3-LRx is designed to reduce the production of angiopoietin-like 3 (ANGPTL3) protein in the liver, a key regulator of triglycerides, cholesterol, glucose and energy metabolism. AKCEA-ANGPTL3-LRx is currently being evaluated in a Phase 2 study in patients with Type 2 diabetes, hypertriglyceridemia and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
“AKCEA-ANGPTL3-LRx has the potential to treat people suffering from certain cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Given the unmet medical need for this patient population and the broad market potential, we believe Pfizer’s expertise and breadth of experience in cardiovascular and metabolic diseases makes it well suited to accelerate clinical development of AKCEA-ANGPTL3-LRx, and to deliver it to patients in need of additional therapies for these life threatening diseases,” said Damien McDevitt, Ph.D., interim chief executive officer at Akcea.
“Pfizer is committed to delivering breakthrough medicines to patients with unmet medical needs,” said Mikael Dolsten, Chief Scientific Officer and President, Worldwide Research & Development and Medical, Pfizer. “AKCEA-ANGPTL3-LRx is a novel therapy that will complement our clinical mid-stage internal medicine pipeline, and we believe that our deep expertise in cardiovascular and metabolic diseases will help allow this program to reach its maximum potential for patients.”
Under terms of the agreement, Akcea and Ionis will receive a $250 million upfront license fee, which will be split equally between the two companies. Akcea will settle its $125 million obligation to Ionis in Akcea common stock. The companies are also eligible to receive development, regulatory and sales milestone payments of up to $1.3 billion and tiered, double-digit royalties on annual worldwide net sales following marketing approval of AKCEA-ANGPTL3-LRx. Future milestone payments and royalties will be split equally between Akcea and Ionis. Pfizer is responsible for all development and regulatory activities and costs beyond those associated with the ongoing Phase 2 study. Prior to regulatory filing for marketing approval, Akcea has the right, at its option to participate in certain commercialization activities with Pfizer in the U.S. and certain additional markets on pre-defined terms and based on meeting pre-defined criteria.
This transaction is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and other customary closing conditions.
AKCEA-ANGPTL3-LRx is an investigational antisense therapy being developed to treat patients with certain cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. This antisense medicine is designed to reduce the production of angiopoietin-like 3 (ANGPTL3) protein in the liver, a key regulator of triglycerides, cholesterol, glucose and energy metabolism. AKCEA-ANGPTL3-LRx was developed using Ionis’ advanced LIgand Conjugated Antisense (LICA) technology platform. The potential therapeutic benefits of ANGPTL3 reduction are supported by the discovery that people with a genetic deficiency in ANGPTL3 have reduced levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and triglycerides, and a decreased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease(1). In a Phase 1/2 study, patients treated with AKCEA-ANGPTL3-LRx achieved robust, dose-dependent reductions of ANGPTL3, triglycerides, LDL-cholesterol and total cholesterol with a positive safety and tolerability profile(2). AKCEA-ANGPTL3-LRx is currently being evaluated in a Phase 2 study in patients with Type 2 diabetes, hypertriglyceridemia and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). AKCEA-ANGPTL3-LRx was discovered by Ionis and has been co-developed by Akcea and Ionis.
About Akcea Therapeutics, Inc.
Akcea Therapeutics, Inc., an affiliate of Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc., is a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing drugs to treat patients with serious and rare diseases. Akcea is commercializing TEGSEDI® (inotersen) and WAYLIVRA® (volanesorsen) as well as advancing a mature pipeline of novel drugs, including AKCEA-APO(a)-LRx, AKCEA-ANGPTL3-LRx, AKCEA-APOCIII-LRx, and AKCEA-TTR-LRx, with the potential to treat multiple diseases. All six drugs were discovered by Ionis, a leader in antisense therapeutics, and are based on Ionis’ proprietary antisense technology. TEGSEDI is approved in the U.S., E.U. and Canada. WAYLIVRA is approved in the E.U. and is currently in Phase 3 clinical development for the treatment of people with familial partial lipodystrophy, or FPL. Akcea is building the infrastructure to commercialize its drugs globally. Akcea is a global company headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts.
Pfizer Inc.: Breakthroughs that Change Patients’ Lives
At Pfizer, we apply science and our global resources to bring therapies to people that extend and significantly improve their lives. We strive to set the standard for quality, safety and value in the discovery, development and manufacture of health care products, including innovative medicines and vaccines. Every day, Pfizer colleagues work across developed and emerging markets to advance wellness, prevention, treatments and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time. Consistent with our responsibility as one of the world’s premier innovative biopharmaceutical companies, we collaborate with health care providers, governments and local communities to support and expand access to reliable, affordable health care around the world. For more than 150 years, we have worked to make a difference for all who rely on us.
1. JAMA Cardiol. 2018 Oct 1;3(10):957-966.
2. N Engl J Med. 2017 Jul 20;377(3):222-232.