Boehringer plays catch-up in NASH, dives into new modalities across the board

Keeping to early stage deals, Boehringer places smaller bets on big risks

Although Boehringer’s recent spate of deals plug pipeline holes in fibrosis and cancer, a broader survey of the pharma’s partnering activity over the last two years shows it delving into technologies that let it jump ahead in next-generation therapies across several of its established focus areas and a couple of new ones.

Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH announced three deals in July, two of which aim to build on its success in fibrosis, which kicked off in 2014 when FDA approved its idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) drug Ofev nintedanib, making it one of the first two products marketed for the indication.

In one deal, Boehringer expanded its IPF pipeline by licensing a Phase I autotaxin inhibitor from Bridge Biotherapeutics Inc. for €45 million ($50.6 million) up front and up to €1.1 billion ($1.21 billion) in milestones, plus royalties.

The other deal, with Yuhan Corp., bolsters the pharma’s entry into non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), an area that sits adjacent to its other fibrosis indications and is a comorbidity of diabetes, one of its strongholds.

The deal gives Boehringer Yuhan’s preclinical first-in-class dual GLP-1R/FGF21R agonist, which combines two MOAs already in development. By addressing two of NASH’s three mechanistic pillars -- metabolic insult, inflammation and fibrosis -- Boehringer is leveraging the advantage of a single fusion protein to compete with the four monotherapies in Phase III, and more than 50 other programs in the clinic for the disease.

Yuhan receives $40 million up front and $830 million

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