"Our collaboration with GSK has been very productive resulting in three novel antisense drugs in our pipeline. We look forward to continuing to advance these drugs and add additional new drugs to our pipeline with GSK," said B. Lynne Parshall, chief operating officer at Isis. "Including the $1 million announced today, we have earned $11 million in payments from GSK to discover and develop drugs for hepatitis B virus (HBV)."
"HBV infection is a serious health problem that can lead to significant and potentially fatal health conditions, including cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer. While chronic HBV is currently treated with oral antiviral agents or injectable interferons, these treatments do not clear HBV and do not effectively clear HBV antigens from these patients. This means that patients are unable to fully control HBV infection and achieve sustained disease remission. As such, more effective HBV agents that provide greater viral inhibition and permit greater immune system activity against the virus are needed. We believe that using our antisense approach we can develop a drug that has the potential to fill this patient need," said C. Frank Bennett, Ph.D., senior vice president, research at Isis.
As part of Isis' strategic alliance with GSK, Isis is discovering and developing drugs to treat HBV, which GSK has the exclusive option to in-license and further develop and commercialize after Isis completes the first clinical proof of concept study. Isis is eligible to earn pre-licensing payments from GSK as the HBV program advances in development. Isis is also eligible to receive double-digit royalties on sales from any product that GSK successfully commercializes under this strategic alliance with GSK, including those arising out of this HBV program.