Boehringer Ingelheim partners with Enleofen to develop anti-IL-11 therapies for fibrotic diseases

Boehringer Ingelheim has entered into a deal giving it worldwide exclusive rights to Enleofen's preclinical IL-11 platform to develop therapies across a "broad range" of fibro-inflammatory diseases, including non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and interstitial lung diseases (ILDs), the companies announced Thursday. Under the agreed terms, Enleofen is eligible to receive more than $1 billion per product in upfront and success-based development and commercialisation milestones.

Boehringer Ingelheim noted that blocking IL-11 action has been shown to inhibit disease in the liver, lung, kidney, retina, bowel, heart and skin, with preclinical findings demonstrating that antibody-based IL-11 antagonists were able to prevent and reverse inflammation and fibrosis, as well as restore organ function. 

The company said the acquisition will strengthen its pipeline portfolio, and "builds on the experience gained with nintedanib in fibrotic lung diseases." The kinase inhibitor nintedanib was initially approved in the US in 2014 under the name Ofev for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, and had its label expanded this past September to include slowing pulmonary function decline in adults with ILD associated with systemic sclerosis.

Aside from an initial focus on NASH and ILDs, Boehringer Ingelheim indicated that the platform may potentially also be expanded into further fibro-inflammatory conditions based on IL-11's central role in disease.

"The impressive preclinical studies at Enleofen have revealed the potential of IL-11 blockade to treat a broad range of diseases," commented Clive Wood, global head of discovery research at Boehringer Ingelheim. He added "we are excited to have these monoclonal antibodies in our pipeline and have the opportunity to accelerate their path to many patients whose needs are not met by current treatments."

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