Forendo and Novartis are to partner on novel chronic liver disease treatments. Forendo Pharma, a clinical stage drug development company focusing on novel treatments in women’s health, has announced signing of a License and Collaboration Agreement with Novartis. The joint research collaboration is aimed at the identification of novel drugs for the treatment of chronic liver diseases. Novartis receives a worldwide exclusive license to drug candidates generated under the collaboration.
Forendo Pharma has world leading experience in drug discovery and development of inhibitors of the HSD17B (17-beta-hydroxysteroid dehydregonase) enzyme family. These enzymes demonstrate significant potential in multiple disease areas beyond Forendo’s own women’s health focused programs. This is a diverse family of enzymes that regulate hormone action in specific tissues and where Forendo, together with its close academic collaborators, has its core competence and leading experience. Forendo’s lead program, HSD17B1 inhibitor FOR-6219, targeted for endometriosis, is in phase 1b clinical studies.
Under the terms of the agreement, Forendo will receive an upfront payment and equity investment from Novartis. Furthermore, Forendo’s research activities under the collaboration will be funded by Novartis. After the term of the research collaboration, Novartis will assume responsibility for all future development, manufacturing and commercialisation of the novel compounds. Forendo is also eligible to earn milestone payments, upon specified development, regulatory and commercial milestones and tiered royalties on the sales. Further details on the deal financials are not disclosed.
Risto Lammintausta, Chief Executive Officer of Forendo Pharma, said: “This agreement with Novartis is a significant recognition of Forendo’s core capabilities and the vast future potential of this enzyme family in medicine, in multiple disease areas in addition to women’s health. We are very pleased to enter this collaboration with Novartis and look forward to the results of our work together in the coming years.”