Allergan (AGN) Acquires Akarna Therapeutics for $50M Plus Milestones

September 20, 2016 4:17 PM EDT

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Allergan plc (NYSE: AGN), a leading global pharmaceutical company, today announced that the Company has acquired Akarna Therapeutics Ltd., a privately held biopharmaceutical company focused on developing novel small molecule therapeutics that target inflammatory and fibrotic diseases, for an up-front payment of $50 million, subject to certain adjustments, as well as potential clinical, regulatory and commercial milestone payments related to its lead development compound, AKN-083. In addition to AKN-083, the acquisition also includes a portfolio of additional development-stage FXR compounds.

Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) is a severe type of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which is characterized by the accumulation of fat in the liver with no other apparent causes.ii NASH occurs when the accumulation of liver fat is accompanied by inflammation and cellular damage.ii The inflammation can lead to fibrosis (scarring) of the liver and eventually progress to cirrhosis, portal hypertension, liver cancer, and eventual liver failure.ii NAFLD and NASH affect approximately 30% and 5%, respectively, of the US populationiii and NAFLD affects more than 20% of the population worldwide.iv

AKN-083 is a potentially best-in-class preclinical farnesoid X receptor (FXR) agonist in development for the treatment of NASH, and is highly complementary to compounds in development by Tobira Therapeutics, Cenicriviroc (CVC) and Evogliptin. Allergan announced the acquisition of Tobira earlier today.

"The acquisition of Akarna adds to our strategic approach to investing in innovation to advance the treatment of NASH for millions of patients who currently do not have therapeutic options to treat the disease," said Brent Saunders, CEO and President of Allergan. "We look forward to advancing this unique compound into later stages of development, and to advancing our overall portfolio of NASH programs, as we focus on bringing forward effective treatments for this critical disease area."

"AKN-083 is a highly differentiated, selective FXR agonist which is a strongly validated therapeutic mechanism for the treatment of NASH," said David Nicholson, Chief Research & Development Officer, Allergan. "In addition, AKN-083 is a non-bile acid FXR agonist that in preclinical studies has shown high affinity, potency and selectivity with a better tolerability profile. These characteristics make AKN-083 a great addition to our portfolio of assets for the treatment of NASH."

"We are excited to be working with Allergan, a company that shares our vision to develop the best possible treatments for NASH," said Raju Mohan, Ph.D., Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Akarna Therapeutics. "Allergan shares our commitment to help patients with NASH live longer, healthier lives."

Conference CallAllergan management will host a conference call to discuss the Tobira Therapeutics, Akarna Therapeutics and other recent R&D acquisitions Wednesday, September 21, 2016 at 8:30 a.m. EST. The number to call from within the United States is (877) 251-7980, conference ID 85674735. From international locations, the conference call can be accessed at (706) 643-1573 using the same conference ID. The call will also be webcast and can be accessed through the companies' websites at To access the slides go to Allergan's Investor Relations Web site at A replay of the conference call will also be available by calling (855) 859-2056 in the U.S. or (404) 537-3406 outside of the U.S., conference ID 85674735.

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