Allergan plc, a leading global pharmaceutical company, has acquired Akarna Therapeutics Ltd., a privately held biopharmaceutical company focused on developing novel small molecule therapeutics that target inflammatory and fibrotic diseases, for an up-front payment of $50 million, subject to certain adjustments, as well as potential clinical, regulatory and commercial milestone payments related to its lead development compound, AKN-083. In addition to AKN-083, the acquisition also includes a portfolio of additional development-stage FXR compounds.
Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) is a severe type of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which is characterized by the accumulation of fat in the liver with no other apparent causes. NASH occurs when the accumulation of liver fat is accompanied by inflammation and cellular damage. The inflammation can lead to fibrosis (scarring) of the liver and eventually progress to cirrhosis, portal hypertension, liver cancer, and eventual liver failure. NAFLD and NASH affect approximately 30% and 5%, respectively, of the US populationiii and NAFLD affects more than 20% of the population worldwide.
AKN-083 is a potentially best-in-class preclinical farnesoid X receptor (FXR) agonist in development for the treatment of NASH, and is highly complementary to compounds in development by Tobira Therapeutics, Cenicriviroc (CVC) and Evogliptin.