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Cortendo to develop Antisense’s ATL1103 for acromegaly

Swedish biopharmaceutical firm Cortendo has entered into an exclusive license agreement with Australia-based Antisense Therapeutics for its second-generation antisense drug, ATL1103, to treat acromegaly, a hormonal disorder.

ATL1103 is designed to block growth hormone receptor (GHr) expression thereby reducing levels of the hormone insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) in the blood and is a potential treatment for diseases associated with excessive growth hormone and IGF-1 action.

Under the deal, Cortendo will have development and commercialization rights to Antisense’s ATL1103 for endocrinology applications.

Initially, Cortendo will make upfront payment of $5m (AUD 6.2m) to Antisense Therapeutics, which it will include $3m (AUD 3.7m) in cash and a $2m (AUD 2.5m) investment in Antisense Therapeutics equity.

The company will also make additional payments, contingent upon achieving specific development and commercialization milestones of about $105m (AUD 131m) over the lifetime of the agreement.

Cortendo president and CEO Matthew Pauls said: "Cortendo is dedicated to addressing the needs of the rare disease community, and we are focused on developing novel therapeutic options and resources for rare diseases that will make a difference for patients, their families and physicians.

"The opportunity to advance ATL1103, a novel second-generation antisense therapeutic with potential utility in acromegaly, nicely complements COR-003, our existing Phase 3 asset for Cushing’s Syndrome, and builds upon our rare endocrine disease franchise.

"We are also continuing to actively explore other partnerships in endocrinology as well as other therapeutic areas for rare diseases."

As part of the deal, Cortendo will be responsible for the ongoing clinical development of ATL1103 in endocrinology applications and will fund the associated future development, regulatory and drug manufacture costs.

Antisense will retain commercialization rights for ATL1103 in endocrinology applications in Australia and New Zealand, and will also retain worldwide rights for other ATL1103 indications.

In addition, Antisense may use new ATL1103 data generated by Cortendo in pursuing these other indications, subject to certain terms and conditions.