Boehringer Ingelheim partners with Yuhan to develop dual agonist for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis

Boehringer Ingelheim entered a collaboration and license agreement with Yuhan potentially worth up to $870 million to develop a dual agonist combining GLP-1 and FGF21 activity in one molecule for the treatment of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and related liver diseases. The deal includes upfront and near-term payments of $40 million from Boehringer Ingelheim, with Yuhan also eligible to receive up to $830 million in potential milestone payments plus tiered sales royalties.  

According to Boehringer Ingelheim, targeting one of the features of NASH will not be able to achieve the desired resolution in patients with advanced stages of the disease. The companies noted that the dual agonist is expected to reduce liver cell injury and hepatic inflammation by resolution of steatohepatitis, as well as having direct antifibrotic effects.  

"We are excited about this new opportunity which adds to our longstanding and successful partnership with Yuhan," stated Michel Pairet, member of Boehringer Ingelheim's board of managing directors overseeing the drugmaker's innovation unit, adding "this partnership brings us closer to next generation treatments for patients with NASH."  

The partnership, which covers all global regions excluding Korea, is set to expire at the time of patent expiry or 10 years from the initial sales date by country or the expiration of the monopoly period granted by the respective national licensing authorities.  

Meanwhile, Yuhan said that the combined molecule will be developed using Genexine's long-acting hyFc technology, which was licenced to Yuhan in 2013. Genexine will be eligible for a 5% of the out-licencing deal in royalties.

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