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Vertex inks $1.5bn deal with Alios to mix hep C cocktails

Posted on 14 June 2011

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Vertex is committing over $1.5 billion in a deal with Alios that seeks to develop "all-oral" combination regimens for the treatment of hepatitis C.

The exclusive worldwide licensing deal adds two distinct nucleotide analogs, discovery by Alios, known as ALS-2200 and ALS-2158, which have shown in in vitro studies to be potent inhibitors of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) polymerase, an enzyme essential for replication of the virus. The addition of these compounds provides Vertex with multiple opportunities to develop potential, new, all-oral combination regimens for chronic hepatitis C. Vertex expects ALS-2200 and ALS-2158 to enter clinical development later this year.

As part of the agreement, Alios will receive a $60 million up-front payment from Vertex for the worldwide rights to ALS-2200 and ALS-2158.

Vertex is responsible for development costs related to ALS-2200 and ALS-2158 and will also provide research funding to Alios. In addition, Alios would be eligible to receive research and development milestone payments up to $715 million if both compounds are approved. Vertex expects to pay approximately $35 million in development milestones in 2011. Alios is also eligible to receive up to $750 million in sales milestones on sales of all approved medicines under the collaboration. The agreement also includes tiered royalties on product sales.

“We are excited to begin working with Vertex, as we believe that the Alios nucleotide analogues provide an important opportunity to improve patient care in hepatitis C,” said Lawrence M. Blatt, Ph.D., Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Alios BioPharma. “For more than a decade, Vertex has been a leader in the development of new approaches for treating hepatitis C, and together we have the potential to create an all-oral, interferon-free, combination therapy that could improve the safety, efficacy and ease of administration for patients. We look forward to initiating clinical development later this year.”

Vertex gains worldwide rights to both compounds, further enabling the company to potentially expand development and commercialization efforts in hepatitis C to areas outside North America over the coming years.

The agreement also includes a research program that will focus on the discovery of additional nucleotide analogues that act on the hepatitis C polymerase. Vertex will have the option to select compounds for development emerging from the research program.

Vertex appears to be building on its success with the recently FDA approved Incivek, to explore and capture new opportunities.

“The recent approval of INCIVEK was a milestone in hepatitis C care, and today’s announcement underscores our long-term commitment to further improving the treatment of this disease with new combinations of medicines,” said Peter Mueller, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer and Executive Vice President of Global Research and Development at Vertex.

Steve Poile

 

Related items:

Purchase the Dealdoc
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See this deal on the 2011 Partnering Scorecard
View this deal and thousands more at Current Agreements (subscription required)

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