Pfizer teams up with Wave Life Sciences for metabolic disease research

pharmafile | May 6, 2016 | News story | Manufacturing and Production, Medical Communications, Research and Development, Sales and Marketing Pfizer, metabolic disease, nucelic acid therapies, partnership, wave life sciences 

Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) has entered into a research, license and option agreement with Wave Life Sciences (NASDAQ: WVE) for the development of nucleic acid therapies aimed at silencing the underlying causes of debilitating metabolic diseases.

The partnership will bring together Pfizer’s hepatic targeting technology for enhanced delivery to the liver with Wave’s proprietary stereopure drug development platform, across RNAi and antisense modalities.

Pfizer has agreed to pay $40 million upfront to Wave, three quarters of which comes in the form of an equity investment at a price of $16 per share. Pending full commercialisation of five products, Wave could be eligible for up to $871 million in further research, development and commercial milestone payments from Pfizer.

Two targets have been indicated for initial development and potential commercialisation, including Wave’s apolipoprotein C-III program. Up to five programs will be advanced by Wave from discovery through to the selection of clinical candidates, under the terms of the arrangement.

Additionally, Wave has received rights to Pfizer’s hepatic targeting technology and, should they use it, Pfizer is eligible to receive potential development and commercial milestone payments from Wave.

Paul Bolno, president and chief executive officer at Wave Life Sciences, says: “This alliance is consistent with Wave’s strategy to build and advance a portfolio of medicines for neurological and neuromuscular diseases, while working with partners with deep expertise in other important therapeutic areas. We expect that our existing cash together with the upfront payment will enable us to fund our operating expenses and capital expenditure requirements into 2019.

Morris Birnbaum, chief scientific officer in the metabolic research unit at Pfizer, comments: “We must commit to the most promising technologies, and we believe that Wave’s oligonucleotide strategy is among the best. By working together to develop unique, proprietary technologies emerging from both companies, we will explore new liver-targeted approaches to address the cause of genetically defined diseases and interrupt the progression of complex, metabolic disorders.”

Sean Murray

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