By Chris Wack

 

Aligos Therapeutics Inc. said it has expanded its ongoing collaboration agreement with Merck to discover and develop oligonucleotide therapies for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis.

Under the original agreement, Merck and Aligos committed to applying Aligos' oligonucleotide platform technology to discover, research, optimize and develop oligonucleotides directed against a certain undisclosed non-alcoholic steatohepatitis target and up to one additional target of interest in the cardiometabolic/fibrosis space.

That agreement has now been expanded to include the in-license by Merck of an early-stage program with respect to a second undisclosed NASH target on which Aligos has previously been working independently and separately from Merck. In addition, under this expanded arrangement, Merck has the ability of adding an additional third target of interest in the cardiometabolic/fibrosis space to the collaboration.

Under the expanded agreement, Aligos will receive a payment from Merck for the in-license of the program directed at a second undisclosed NASH target. Aligos will also receive an additional payment upon designation of a third target for the collaboration.

With respect to each target in the collaboration, Aligos will be eligible to receive up to $460 million in development and commercialization milestones as well as tiered royalties on sales. Aligos is primarily responsible for designing, synthesizing and evaluating the oligonucleotide candidates and delivering optimized lead molecules. Thereafter, Merck is responsible for subsequent research, clinical development and commercialization.

Aligos shares were up 11% to $4.12 in premarket trading.

 

Write to Chris Wack at chris.wack@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 11, 2022 09:37 ET (14:37 GMT)

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