Boehringer, Inventiva strike €170M idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis R&D deal

(By François de Dijon (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons)

Boehringer Ingelheim has formed an idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) R&D alliance with Inventiva Pharma. The agreement will see Boehringer fork over up to €170 million ($190 million) in return for a chance to tap into transcriptional regulation and fibrosis tools and know-how Inventiva originally picked up in a deal with Abbott Laboratories ($ABT).

Under the terms of the alliance, Inventiva will pocket research funding, milestones and, potentially, tiered royalties on net sales. The money will go toward programs aimed at as-yet-undisclosed fibrosis targets, a field in which Boehringer already has a presence through its small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitor Ofev. Analysts have tipped Ofev for blockbuster sales. But, with treatment options for IPF, by Boehringer’s own admission, remaining “limited” and the cause of the condition unidentified, there is scope for bigger and better products. This is where Inventiva comes in.

Dijon, France-based Inventiva was created in 2012 through a management buyout of a facility Abbott acquired in its €5.2 billion takeover of Solvay’s pharmaceutical business. Since then, Inventiva has moved candidates against nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), systemic sclerosis and a group of rare genetic disorders known as mucopolysaccharidoses into the clinic, while continuing to work with former colleagues at AbbVie ($ABBV) through autoimmune and fibrosis R&D pacts. The deal with Boehringer marks the first truly independent validation of its activities, though.

If Inventiva gets its way, Boehringer won’t be the last drugmaker it signs a drug discovery pact with. “We plan, alongside developing our own pipeline, on pursuing our strategy of establishing collaborative research partnerships with the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies,” Inventiva CSO Pierre Broqua said in a statement. “This new partnership further testifies to Inventiva’s expertise and contributes to strengthening our position as a leading and innovative actor in the field of fibrosis.”

The ramping up of business development activities coincides with the nearing of the renewal date for Invetiva’s original R&D alliance. At the time of the management buyout, almost 5 years ago, Abbott entered into 5-year preclinical research pact with Inventiva. The deal was critical for the startup. Writing at the time, BioWorld said the deal made Inventiva “immediately self-sustaining,” while EC Mergers & Acquisitions, which advised Abbott on the transaction, said it would “finance a large part of the operating costs.”

- read the statement