Pharma Focus Asia

Dicerna and Novo Nordisk Enter Agreement to Discover and Develop RNAi Therapies for Liver-Related Cardio-Metabolic Diseases

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Dicerna™ Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Novo Nordisk A/S today announced an agreement to discover and develop novel therapies for the treatment of liver-related cardio-metabolic diseases using Dicerna’s proprietary GalXC™ RNAi platform technology. The collaboration plans to explore more than 30 liver cell targets and may deliver multiple clinical candidates for disorders including chronic liver disease, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), type 2 diabetes, obesity, and rare diseases. Dicerna will conduct and fund discovery and preclinical development to clinical candidate selection for each liver cell target, and Novo Nordisk will be responsible for all further development.

The agreement represents a significant investment by Novo Nordisk to secure access to Dicerna’s proprietary GalXC RNAi platform, which complements its existing technology base. The collaboration provides Novo Nordisk with the capability to inhibit hepatocyte targets involved in disease regulation and has the potential to generate a number of clinical development candidates.

“We are excited to collaborate with Novo Nordisk on this broad research and development effort that extends the reach of our GalXC platform to a wide range of liver cell targets and maximizes our opportunities in serious liver diseases,” said Douglas M. Fambrough, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of Dicerna. “Our efforts will benefit from Novo Nordisk’s expertise in cardio-metabolic diseases and years of experience developing and commercializing innovative therapies worldwide, which will help us advance novel RNAi treatments for underserved patient populations.”

The agreement enables each company to co-develop and co-commercialize product candidates discovered under the collaboration. Novo Nordisk will lead programs targeting cardio-metabolic disorders and other indications with Dicerna having the option to opt into two programs during clinical development. Dicerna retains rights to initiate two new orphan liver disease programs for which Novo Nordisk can opt in. For all co-development programs, the companies will share in the profit/loss of net sales of products consistent with each company’s contribution to co-development costs.

“Through this important collaboration with Dicerna, we gain access to an innovative technology and deep expertise in RNA interference,” said Marcus Schindler, senior vice president of Global Drug Discovery in Novo Nordisk. “Dicerna is the ideal partner to discover and develop molecules for targets that may yield multiple potential treatments across disease areas such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular, and NASH. We will work closely together to unlock the true potential of treating a range of diseases using RNAi therapies, for the benefit of patients.”

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