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GSK takes option to license hepatitis B RNA drugs from Ionis

August 28, 2019 / Richard Staines

GlaxoSmithKline has taken an option to license Ionis’ antisense medicines for people with chronic hepatitis B virus infection after supportive phase 2 trial results. Ionis could receive up to $262 million, including a $25 million up front license fee, and tiered royalties in the low double digits on net sales. The two drugs, IONIS-HBVRX and IONIS-HBV-LRX, are part of a large portfolio of RNA-targeting drugs that Ionis is developing for big pharma clients. Other partnerships include Roche, Biogen, Bayer, and AstraZeneca, who like GSK are looking for pipeline drugs that have a good chance of making it through development and have significant sales potential if approved. GSK is not responsible for all development, regulatory and marketing activities and costs, assuming the deal is not challenged by US competition regulators. Under research chief Hal Barron, GSK is attempting to spice up its pipeline and is on the hunt for drugs with blockbuster-level potential. Barron is prepared to...