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Novo Nordisk get exclusive worldwide licence to EpiDestiny\'s sickle cell disease programme

Novo Nordisk secures blood drug licence to boost anaemic biopharma business

By Team ABLE

Novo Nordisk and EpiDestiny announced that Novo Nordisk has obtained an exclusive worldwide licence to EpiDestiny\'s sickle cell disease (SCD) programme, EPI01.

EpiDestiny is eligible to receive more than 400 million US dollars in upfront, development and sales milestone payments and will get royalties on net sales. EpiDestiny and Novo Nordisk will collaborate to develop EPI01 in SCD and beta-thalassaemia. EpiDestiny retains all rights to continue development of EPI01 in oncology.

Increasing levels of foetal haemoglobin (HbF) have important clinical benefits in SCD and beta-thalassaemia patients[1]. Elevated HbF correlated with increased red blood cell half-life, reduced number of pain crises and increased life expectancy1. EPI01 is a novel, orally available, disease-modifying therapy to increase HbF and interrupt SCD pathophysiology.

EpiDestiny recently completed a phase 1 trial with EPI01 in SCD patients demonstrating increased HbF expression and safety after eight weeks of administration in a small patient cohort[2]. The clinical observations demonstrated the potential for EPI01 to serve as a safe and highly meaningful disease-modifying therapy for SCD.

\"This is a great opportunity for Novo Nordisk to enter into a new therapeutic area closely related to our existing biopharmaceutical business and thereby utilise our core R&D and commercial capabilities to make a significant difference for patients living with a serious chronic disease. We are looking forward to working closely with EpiDestiny and their great network among sickle cell disease experts and the sickle cell community. We are confident that together we can make a significant difference for SCD patients and their families globally,\" said Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, executive vice president and chief science officer of Novo Nordisk.

\"We would like to extend our gratitude to all the dedicated patients, physicians and nurses who will participate in the clinical studies of EPI01 in SCD and beta-thalassaemia. Further, the collaboration with Novo Nordisk represents an important step in the continued development of EPI01 for patients with this underserved life-threatening disease. We are looking forward to sharing this programme with Novo Nordisk which has a long history of successfully developing and commercialising products within chronic specialty care across the globe\", said Santhosh Vadivelu, PhD, president and chief executive officer of EpiDestiny. \"The support we receive from Novo Nordisk will allow EpiDestiny to invest and explore the full potential of EPI01 within oncology and to pursue our other pipeline compounds in oncology and other indications.\"