Aligos Enters into an Exclusive License and Research Collaboration Agreement with Merck to Discover and Develop an Oligonucleotide Therapy for NASH
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., Dec. 07, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Aligos Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: ALGS) today announced that it has entered into an Exclusive License and Research Collaboration Agreement with Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, under which Merck and Aligos will apply Aligos’ oligonucleotide platform technology to discover, research, optimize and develop oligonucleotides directed against a non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) target and up to one additional target of interest in the cardiometabolic/fibrosis space.
“We have assembled a team of scientists and medical professionals with significant experience in oligonucleotide-based drug discovery and we have developed a proprietary oligonucleotide chemistry platform that has broad applicability across diverse therapeutic areas,” said Lawrence Blatt, Ph.D., MBA, Chief Executive Officer of Aligos. “Given the imperative to find new innovative treatments for NASH, a chronic liver disease that can progress to fibrosis, cirrhosis, end-stage liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma, we are pleased to collaborate with Merck to advance the development of potentially effective therapeutic regimens.”
Aligos is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing novel therapeutics to address unmet medical needs in liver diseases, including chronic hepatitis B (CHB) and NASH. The company has extensive expertise and resources necessary to develop oligonucleotide candidates for liver diseases, including STOPS™ molecules as well as antisense oligonucleotide (ASO) and small interfering RNA (siRNA) candidates in development for Aligos’ program in CHB.
“NASH continues to represent a serious unmet need and will likely require multiple targeted therapeutic approaches,” said Dr. Ajay Chawla, Vice President, Cardiometabolic Disease Discovery, Merck Research Laboratories. “We look forward to working with the scientists at Aligos to apply their novel oligonucleotide-based platform.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Aligos will receive an upfront payment from Merck as well as an additional payment upon designation of a second target for the collaboration. With respect to each collaboration target, Aligos will be eligible for up to $458M in development and commercialization milestones as well as tiered royalties on net sales. Aligos will be primarily responsible for designing, preparing and evaluating the oligonucleotide molecules and delivering optimized lead molecules, and Merck will be responsible for subsequent research, clinical development and commercialization efforts.
Aligos Therapeutics, Inc. is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company that was founded in 2018 with the mission to become a world leader in the treatment of viral infections and liver diseases. Aligos is focused on the discovery and development of targeted antiviral therapies for chronic hepatitis B (CHB) and coronaviruses as well as leveraging its expertise in liver diseases to create targeted therapeutics for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Aligos’ strategy is to harness the deep expertise and decades of drug development experience its workforce has in liver disease, particularly viral hepatitis, to rapidly advance its pipeline of potentially best-in-class molecules.
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Any statements in this press release that are not historical facts may be considered “forward-looking statements,” including without limitation statements regarding the advancement of the development of potentially effective therapeutic regimens for NASH, Aligos’ eligibility on receiving development and commercialization milestones and royalties from Merck as well as Aligos’ strategy to advance its own pipeline of potentially best-in-class molecules. Forward-looking statements are typically, but not always, identified by the use of words such as “may,” “will,” “would,” “believe,” “intend,” “plan,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “expect,” and other similar terminology indicating future results. Such forward-looking statements are subject to substantial risks and uncertainties that could cause our development programs, future results, performance or achievements to differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include without limitation risks and uncertainties inherent in the drug development process, including Aligos’s clinical-stage of development, the process of designing and conducting clinical trials, the regulatory approval processes, the timing of regulatory filings, the challenges associated with manufacturing drug products, Aligos’s ability to successfully establish, protect and defend its intellectual property, other matters that could affect the sufficiency of Aligos’s capital resources to fund operations, reliance on third parties for manufacturing and development efforts, changes in the competitive landscape and the effects on our business of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. For a further description of the risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements, as well as risks relating to the business of Aligos in general, see Aligos’s prospectus filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on October 19, 2020, and its future periodic reports to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Except as required by law, Aligos undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements to reflect new information, events or circumstances, or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.
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