Novo Nordisk Joins NLRP3 Bandwagon, Bets $70M On Ventus' Lead Drug Candidate

  • Biotechnology startup Ventus Therapeutics is licensing its lead research program, a drug candidate for inflammatory disorders, to Novo Nordisk A/S NVO for an upfront $70 million.
  • The lead experimental drug, dubbed VENT-01, is a small molecule that targets inflammasomes, which are protein complexes in immune system cells that activate inflammatory responses. 
  • An inflammasome known as NLRP3 is the focus of Ventus' experimental treatment. NLRP3 is implicated in many diseases, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and fibrosis.
  • Related: These Stocks Are On The Radar After Biogen-Eisai's Surprising Alzheimer's Trial Win.
  • Novo will develop VENT-01 for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, chronic kidney disease, and other cardiometabolic disorders.
  • Under the agreement, Ventus retains the rights to its three other drug candidates, two of which target neuroinflammatory, neurodegenerative, and skin diseases. The disease target for the third drug has not been disclosed.
  • Ventus is eligible for research and development funding and up to $633 million in potential milestones and tiered royalties.
  • "Ventus has developed a highly differentiated NLRP3 inhibitor program with best-in-class properties and compelling pre-clinical results," Karin Conde-Knape, Novo's senior vice president of global drug discovery, said in a statement.
  • Price Action: NVO shares are up 1.44% at $100.79 on the last check Thursday.
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