Pfizer will continue to provide full funding for the research costs.
The collaboration that started in December 2011, aims to discover and develop novel small molecule RORgamma modulators for the treatment of autoimmune diseases. Pfizer is responsible for all research costs of the project. Karo Bio is eligible to receive over $200 million in milestone payments in addition to any royalty fees.
“We are pleased that Pfizer has chosen to extend our partnership. The decision illustrates the potential of the science behind RORgamma and its application to the treatment of autoimmune diseases. It also reconfirms the potential of Karo Bio’s technology and expertise in the development of drugs targeting nuclear receptors,” says CEO Per Bengtsson.
The nuclear hormone receptor RORgamma is a novel attractive target for the treatment of autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and psoriasis. RORgamma directly controls the production and secretion of the cytokine IL-17, a major contributor to inflammation. The receptor’s key role in driving disease pathology has been implicated in clinical trials using monoclonal antibodies that neutralize IL-17 activity. The agreement with Pfizer was entered into after Karo Bio discovered novel, potent, and specific RORgamma modulators.