Rare Daily Staff

Novo Nordisk has entered into a partnership with Dicerna Pharmaceuticals to discover and develop RNAi-based therapies for the treatment of liver-related cardio-metabolic diseases, which will explore more than 30 liver cell targets for treatments for disorders including chronic liver disease, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), type 2 diabetes, obesity, and rare diseases.

The deal gives Novo Nordisk access to Dicerna’s proprietary RNAi platform, which complements its existing technology base, and 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.

“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,” said Douglas Fambrough, president and CEO of Dicerna.

Under the terms of their agreement, Novo Nordisk will pay Dicerna $175 million in cash upfront, make a $50 million equity investment in Dicerna at a premium, and will invest $25 million annually during each of the first three years of the collaboration, contingent on Dicerna delivering RNAi molecules for a defined number of targets. Dicerna is also eligible for up to $357.5 million per target in development, regulatory, and commercialization milestone payments, plus tiered royalties on product sales. 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 partners will 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.”

Photo: Douglas Fambrough, president and CEO of Dicerna

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