Gilead Sciences and EVOQ Therapeutics have announced a collaboration around EVOQ’s proprietary NanoDisc technology for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and lupus. NanoDisc is designed to enable lymph targeted delivery of disease-specific antigens for autoimmune diseases.
The two companies will collaborate on preclinical development. EVOQ could receive up to $658.5 million total in upfront, option exercise, and milestone payments across all programs, as well as tiered royalties on product sales. Gilead has the option to exclusively license rights to NanoDisc for RA and lupus indications and will be responsible for clinical development and commercialization.
The autoimmune disease market is currently estimated to be worth over $50 billion, and estimated to double over the next few years. It has been challenging to find useful targets in this complex system, and there are over 11,000 clinical trials testing drugs against various autoimmune disorders.
“Despite key advances over the past two decades, there remains significant unmet need for people living with inflammatory and autoimmune diseases,” said Flavius Martin, MD, Executive Vice President, Research at Gilead. “We are excited to collaborate with EVOQ to further expand our autoimmune pipeline with the goal of addressing the needs of people living with these conditions.”
“Gilead has an incredible track record in therapeutic development and of delivering innovative medicines to people around the world. We look forward to working with the Gilead team to advance new treatment options for RA and lupus patients,” said William Brinkerhoff, CEO at EVOQ.
EVOQ’s pipeline features disease-specific immune modulators for autoimmune diseases and its proprietary NanoDisc was designed to deliver antigens to restore immune tolerance.
In January 2021, EVOQ inked a collaboration agreement with Amgen for the discovery and development of novel drugs for autoimmune disorders. Under the terms of that agreement, Amgen and EVOQ will collaborate on preclinical development and Amgen will be responsible for clinical development and commercialization.
In exchange for exclusive rights to selected autoimmune programs, Amgen makes upfront and milestone payments potentially totaling more than $240 million, and pays royalties on sales of resulting therapies. Amgen has a rich portfolio of treatments for autoimmune disorders, with Otezla and Enbrel, as well as biosimilar products, such as AMGEVITA (a biosimilar to Humira) and AVSOLA (a biosimilar to Remicade).
Gilead operates in more than 35 countries worldwide, with headquarters in Foster City, California. The company develops treatments including HIV, viral hepatitis, cancer, and inflammation. Gilead just announced a deal with Jounce Therapeutics that makes Gilead solely responsible for all further research, development, and potential commercialization of GS-1811, a drug designed to selectively deplete immunosuppressive tumor-infiltrating T regulatory cells in the tumor microenvironment.