NeuroVive claws back rights to hep B drug
- Canadian company Arbutus Biopharma has terminated an agreement with the Stockholm-based mitochondrial medicine company NeuroVive, handing back rights to an experimental oral hepatitis B medicine, NeuroVive said on Friday.
- All rights to NVP018 return to NeuroVive, along with $1.5 million worth of drug product and material produced by Arbutus. NeuroVive said Arbutus had decided to proceed with development of other hepatitis B-related compounds and discontinue work on NVP018.
- Under a 2014 agreement, Arbutus, formerly OnCore BioPharma, acquired global rights to the compound for a combination of upfront and milestone payments totaling $150 million.
NeuroVive Pharmaceutical has had a tumultuous October. Earlier this month, the company dropped development of its ciclosporin-based drug CicloMulsion in acute kidney injury (AKI) after the drug fell short of its primary objective in a Phase 2 study.
Termination of the agreement with Arbutus forfeits potential milestone payments and a shot at a royalty stream from sales of the drug, if it ever were to win approval. But the agreement brings a yearlong back and forth over the drug's future to a close.
Fast forward to July of this year. NeuroVive said it had received a "purported" notice of termination of the license agreement from Arbutus, which it questioned "on several grounds."
Nearly three months later, the companies were finally able to come to an agreement, which gives NeuroVive data from preclinical and CMC development for future development in any potential indication.
NeuroVive sounded an upbeat note on the potential future for the molecule.
“As we see several very exciting potential treatments with NVP018 in areas with unmet medical need, the R&D team is currently exploring various options for further development of these opportunities. The material provided by Arbutus will be most useful in these activities”, said Erik Kinnman, CEO of NeuroVive.
NeuroVive's current focus is on mitochondrial medicine, AKI, traumatic brain injury and ischemic stroke. The statement from the company suggest a potential new direction for NVP018, which could help to fill the pipeline gaps left by the failure of CicloMulsion in 2016 for AKI and in 2015 for heart attack.
- NeuroVive Pharmaceutical Statement
Follow Suzanne Elvidge on Twitter