12:12 PM
Oct 10, 2018
 |  BC Extra  |  Company News

Roche gets option to Ionis' antisense dry AMD candidate

Roche (SIX:ROG; OTCQX:RHHBY) will pay Ionis Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:IONS) $75 million up front for an option to develop and commercialize IONIS-FB-LRx, a ligand-conjugated antisense (LICA) oligonucleotide targeting complement factor B (CFB).

The partners plan to develop the candidate for complement-mediated diseases, with an initial focus on geographic atrophy, the advanced stage of dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Ionis will conduct a Phase II study of IONIS-FB-LRx in geographic atrophy, slated to begin early next year, and will also evaluate the compound in an undisclosed severe renal indication. Roche may exercise its option following completion of those studies, and would then be responsible for all global development and commercialization.

Ionis is eligible to receive up to $684 million in milestones and license fees, plus royalties ranging from the high teens to 20%.

Last year, GlaxoSmithKline plc (LSE:GSK; NYSE:GSK) declined its option to license IONIS-FB-LRx. At the time, Ionis said GSK's decision was part of a reprioritization of its pipeline and strategic review of its rare diseases business. Ionis and Roche are also partnered on IONIS-HTTRx, Ionis' antisense molecule targeting huntingtin protein to treat Huntington's disease (see "Ionis' Huntington's Antisense Headed for Pivotal Trial").

Ionis was off $0.83 to $44.06 Wednesday.

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