In Novartis, Conatus Lands Experienced, Deep-Pocketed NASH Partner
Biotech gets $50m up front, up to $650m in milestones, significant royalties and the option to co-promote emricasan in NASH in the US. Novartis also may combine the caspase inhibitor with its Phase II FXR agonist.
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After multiple Phase IIb trial failures, Conatus says it will fulfill contractual obligations and consider strategic alternatives. Partner Novartis was already focused on other candidates and partnerships in NASH.
The pan-caspase inhibitor emricasan, partnered with Novartis, misses fibrosis-reduction endpoint in Phase IIb study, following the failure last December of a trial in portal hypertension.
Conatus’ emricasan fails to meet the primary endpoint for portal hypertension in NASH patients with cirrhosis, but firm stresses promising subgroup data. Genfit hits Phase II primary endpoint in PBC with elafibranor, which is also in Phase III for NASH.