Dicerna & Novo Nordisk to discover, develop RNAi therapies

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Dicerna Pharmaceuticals and Novo Nordisk have entered an agreement to discover and develop novel therapies for the treatment of liver-related cardio-metabolic diseases using the former’s GalXC RNAi platform technology.

The collaboration plans to explore more than thirty 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 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.

The agreement enables each company to co-develop and co-commercialise product candidates discovered under the collaboration.

Novo Nordisk will lead programmes targeting cardio-metabolic disorders and other indications with Dicerna having the option to opt into two programmes during clinical development.

Dicerna retains rights to initiate two new orphan liver disease programmes for which Novo Nordisk can opt in. For all co-development programmes, the companies will share in the profit/loss of net sales of products consistent with each company’s contribution to co-development costs.

The agreement sees Novo Nordisk pay $175 million upfront, with a $50 million equity investment in Dicerna.

The Danish company will also pay $25 million annual during each of the first three years of the collaboration, contingent on Dicerna delivering RNAi molecules for a defined number of targets.

Moreover, Novo Nordisk will pay up to $357.5 million per target in development, regulatory and commercialisation milestone payments, plus tiered royalties on product sales ranging from the mid-single-digits to mid-teens.