GSK Takes Ionis Liver Drug Option

10.09.2019 -

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has exercised its option to license an investigational treatment from Ionis Pharmaceuticals for chronic hepatitis B infection (CHB).  The major UK drugmaker is now responsible for all development, regulatory and commercialization activities and costs.

The move follows positive Phase 2 results for the treatment, which is based on Ionis’s drug discovery platform, called antisense technology. Ionis said its antisense medicines can treat diseases where no other therapeutic approaches have proven effective.

CHB is a viral liver infection that affects more than 200 million people worldwide, leading to significant and potentially fatal conditions, including cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer.

“By targeting the root cause of CHB-related liver disease, our antisense technology can potentially deliver a transformative medicine for people who suffer from chronic hepatitis B virus infection," said Ionis chief operating officer Brett Monia. "We believe GSK's development and commercialization expertise in infectious diseases makes them the ideal partner to help address this high unmet need."

As part of the agreement, Ionis is eligible to receive license fees and milestone payments of up to $262 million, along with tiered royalties in the low double digits on net sales.

The deal remains subject to antitrust clearance.