Allergan acquires Akarna Therapeutics

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Allergan has acquired Akarna Therapeutics for an up-front payment of $50 million.

The acquisition of the privately-held biopharmaceutical company, focussed on developing novel small molecule therapeutics that target inflammatory and fibrotic diseases, is subject to certain adjustments. It is also subject to potential clinical, regulatory and commercial milestone payments related to its lead development compound, AKN-083. In addition to AKN-083, the acquisition also includes a portfolio of additional development-stage FXR compounds.

AKN-083 is a potentially best-in-class preclinical farnesoid X receptor (FXR) agonist in development for the treatment of Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH), and is highly complementary to compounds in development by Tobira Therapeutics, Cenicriviroc (CVC) and Evogliptin. Allergan also announced the acquisition of Tobira this week. 

NASH is a severe type of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), characterised by the accumulation of fat in the liver with no other apparent causes. NASH occurs when the accumulation of liver fat is accompanied by inflammation and cellular damage. The inflammation can lead to fibrosis (scarring) of the liver and eventually progress to cirrhosis, portal hypertension, liver cancer, and eventual liver failure.

Brent Saunders, CEO and President of Allergan, said: “The acquisition of Akarna adds to our strategic approach to investing in innovation to advance the treatment of NASH for millions of patients who currently do not have therapeutic options to treat the disease.”

Raju Mohan, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Akarna Therapeutics, said: “Allergan shares our commitment to help patients with NASH live longer, healthier lives.”