Gilead Sciences, Second Genome form IBD drug discovery alliance

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Gilead Sciences has entered into a four-year deal worth up to $338 million with California-based clinical-stage company Second Genome to discover targets and drug candidates for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

The companies will also collaborate on detecting biomarkers related to clinical response for a maximum of five pipeline compounds of Gilead Sciences, which are being developed for inflammation, fibrosis and other diseases.

As per the terms of the collaboration, Second Genome will leverage its Microbiome Analytics Platform for identifying novel biomarkers associated with clinical response to Gilead Sciences investigational drugs.

According to Gilead Sciences, the collaboration will tap into the latest microbiome science insights to help inform patient stratification and for optimizing potential treatments in the long run.

On the other hand, Second Genome’s platform alongside additional discovery and development tools will pursue new targets and drug candidates for inflammatory bowel disease.

The companies expect to identify up to five IBD targets or investigational drugs in the coming four years. The parties have agreed to an option of extending their collaboration by two more years.

Gilead Sciences forms IBD drug discovery alliance with Second Genome

Gilead Sciences forms IBD drug discovery alliance with Second Genome. Image courtesy of Gilead Sciences, Inc.

William Lee – Executive Vice President of Research at Gilead Sciences said: “There is a growing body of evidence that the microbiome plays an important role in disease progression and treatment response in inflammatory diseases.

“We look forward to working with Second Genome to investigate the microbiome’s role in inflammatory disease and particularly IBD, where patients can face significant challenges in achieving long-term remission with conventional therapies.

“This collaboration is the latest example of Gilead’s ongoing commitment to advance research in inflammatory diseases, combining external innovation and insights from Second Genome with our own expertise, as we work to bring forward transformative therapies to improve patient outcomes.”

Gilead Sciences will make an upfront payment of $38 million to Second Genome as per the terms of the partnership in addition to nearly $300 million of payment based on preclinical, clinical, regulatory and commercial milestones for each of five target discovery programs. Second Genome will also be eligible for royalties on approved products.

In return, Gilead Sciences will have a choice to acquire global rights for up to five programs across all diseases, in addition to exclusive rights to all biomarkers that are developed during the partnership.

Karim Dabbagh – CEO of Second Genome said: “The Second Genome platform seeks to redefine diseases through the lens of the microbiome, utilising this incredible resource to identify potential biomarkers and therapeutics.

“We believe the microbiome holds insight into patient heterogeneity as well as response to specific therapies. These differences enable the identification of important biomarkers to enhance precision medicine for better patient segmentation as well as potential combination therapies. We are excited to be collaborating with Gilead using these approaches in IBD for new biomarkers as well as target and drug candidate discovery, driving toward improved clinical outcomes for patients.”

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