Takeda & Arrowhead Collaborate to Co-Develop & Co-Commercialize ARO-AAT for Alpha-1 Antitrypsin-Associated Liver Disease
Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited and Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Inc. recently announced a collaboration and licensing agreement to develop ARO-AAT, a Phase 2 investigational RNA interference (RNAi) therapy in development to treat alpha-1 antitrypsin-associated liver disease (AATLD). ARO-AAT is a potential first-in-class therapy designed to reduce the production of mutant alpha-1 antitrypsin protein, the cause of AATLD progression.
Under the terms of the agreement, Takeda and Arrowhead will co-develop ARO-AAT which, if approved, will be co-commercialized in the US under a 50/50 profit-sharing structure. Outside the US, Takeda will lead the global commercialization strategy and receive an exclusive license to commercialize ARO-AAT with Arrowhead eligible to receive tiered royalties of 20%-25% on net sales. Arrowhead will receive an upfront payment of $300 million and is eligible to receive potential development, regulatory, and commercial milestones up to $740 million. Closing of the transaction is contingent on completion of review under antitrust laws, including the Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 in the US.
“AAT-associated liver disease is a devastating condition for which there are no approved therapies. With its RNAi-based mechanism of action, ARO-AAT has the potential to treat the underlying cause of AATLD, thereby helping patients avoid the need for liver transplantation and associated co-morbidities,” said Asit Parikh, MD, PhD, Head, Gastroenterology Therapeutic Area Unit at Takeda. “We are excited to collaborate with Arrowhead to bring forward this exciting late-stage liver asset for the Alpha-1 community as part of our growing GI portfolio.”
“Takeda’s global presence and experience with payers and regulators in the rare disease and GI therapy space, combined with its long history serving the alpha-1 community make it the ideal partner for ARO-AAT. It is well-positioned to work with the patient and medical community to help meet the severe unmet need of patients with Alpha-1 liver disease,” said Christopher Anzalone, PhD, President and CEO at Arrowhead. “This agreement also supports our strategy of using partnering selectively to continue to invest in our Targeted RNAi Molecule (TRiM) platform and the growing pipeline of RNAi therapeutics targeting diverse tissue types, while focusing our commercial organization on opportunities in two key areas of cardiometabolic and pulmonary.”
Alpha-1 Antitrypsin-Associated Deficiency (AATD) is a rare genetic disorder associated with liver disease in children and adults and pulmonary disease in adults. AATD is estimated to affect 1 per 3,000-5,000 people in the US and 1 per 2,500 in Europe. The protein AAT is primarily synthesized and secreted by liver hepatocytes. Its function is to inhibit enzymes that can break down normal connective tissue. The most common disease variant, the Z mutant, has a single amino acid substitution that results in improper folding of the protein. The mutant protein cannot be effectively secreted and accumulates in globules inside the hepatocytes. This triggers continuous hepatocyte injury, leading to fibrosis, cirrhosis, and increased risk of hepatocellular carcinoma.
Individuals with the homozygous PiZZ genotype have severe deficiency of functional AAT leading to pulmonary disease and liver disease. Lung disease is frequently treated with AAT augmentation therapy. However, augmentation therapy does nothing to treat liver disease, and there is no specific therapy for hepatic manifestations. There is a significant unmet need as liver transplant, with its attendant morbidity and mortality, is currently the only available cure.
ARO-AAT is designed to knock down the hepatic production of the mutant alpha-1 antitrypsin (Z-AAT) protein, the cause of progressive liver disease in AATD patients. Reducing production of the inflammatory Z-AAT protein is expected to halt the progression of liver disease and potentially allow it to regenerate and repair.
We believe that GI and liver diseases are not just life disrupting conditions, but diseases that can impact a patient’s quality of life. Beyond a fundamental need for effective treatment options, we understand that improving patients’ lives also depends on their needs being recognized. With nearly 30 years of experience in gastroenterology, Takeda has made significant strides in addressing GI patient needs with treatments for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), acid-related diseases, short bowel syndrome (SBS), and motility disorders. We are making significant strides toward closing the gap on new areas of unmet needs for patients who have celiac disease, eosinophilic esophagitis, alpha-1 antitrypsin-associated liver disease, Crohn’s disease, and acute pancreatitis, among others. Together with researchers, patient groups and more, we are working to advance scientific research and clinical medicine in GI.
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