Yuhan Corp. said Monday that it has signed a licensing and cooperation agreement with Gilead Science to develop a treatment for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
Under the accord, Gilead will have worldwide development and commercialization rights for synthetic drug candidates, which acts on two drug targets, while Yuhan will retain commercialization rights in Korea.
The companies will conduct non-clinical studies together, and Gilead will be responsible for global clinical development. Yuhan will receive $15 million as a contract fee and $770 million as development and sales milestone payments as well as additional royalties on sales.
NASH is a chronic progressive disease characterized by liver fat accumulation and inflammation, which damages liver function by inducing liver injury or fibrosis. Patients with NASH defined as fibrosis or cirrhosis can have dangerous developments such as end-stage liver disease such as liver cancer and liver disease, which have a high mortality risk. There are currently certain limits in treating NASH.
“The collaboration is based on a long-term partnership with Yuhan and focuses on new treatments for NASH patients with advanced fibrosis,” Gilead Science CSO John McHutchison said. “The agreement is also an extension of complementing our ongoing research program.”
Gilead hopes to make meaningful progress in the unmet medical field through cooperation with Yuhan's research team, McHutchison added.
Yuhan CEO Lee Jung-hee also said, “We are delighted to extend our long-standing trust and partnership with Gilliard through this cooperation. Yuhan is confident that research and development will be accelerated through cooperation with Gilliard, which has expertise in liver disease.”