BI extends development of Pharmaxis compound

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A major boost for Pharmaxis (ASX:PXS) with Boehringer Ingelheim extending its development of the Sydney-based company's PXS‐4728A.

Boehringer Ingelheim acquired PXS‐4728A from Pharmaxis in May 2015 with initial clinical development focused on finding a treatment for NASH (Non‐alcoholic Steatohepatitis), a debilitating liver disease.

In addition to a phase 2 trial in NASH scheduled to start mid‐year, Boehringer Ingelheim has confirmed a phase 2 study for a second disease indication will also commence this year.

Pharmaxis is due to receive milestone payments of €18 million for the start of a phase 2 trial in NASH and will now receive an additional €10 million for the second indication.

Pharmaxis CEO Mr Gary Phillips said, “PXS‐4728A is an anti‐inflammatory drug with excellent preclinical data in several disease models. We are delighted to see Boehringer looking to exploit that potential and commence clinical development in a fresh indication in the second half of this year. The structure of the deal with Boehringer anticipated its potential in more than one disease and the €10m we expect for the second indication would bring total expected milestones received for starting phase 2 trials in two diseases to approximately A$42m in this calendar year. This is an important signal about Boehringer’s confidence in the potential of PXS‐4728A to help patients.”

He continued, “This significant injection of cash into the Pharmaxis business will allow us to strengthen our drug development pipeline in fibrosis and inflammation and add further scientific expertise. We aim to continue to build a company with the capability to translate and commercialise early stage research into assets with world class data sets that are highly valued by large Pharma companies seeking partnerships.”

Pharmaxis received an upfront payment of €27.5 million (approximately A$39 million) from Boehringer Ingelheim in May 2015 and, subject to the continuing successful development and commercialisation of the PXS‐4728A program, will receive a number of additional payments.

The potential additional payments include up to €140 million related to regulatory milestones as well as payments related to sales.