Seven years after Merck deal, ElexoPharm offloads aldosterone synthase inhibitors to Angion

Angion thinks the ElexoPharm assets may treat chronic kidney disease

ElexoPharm has licensed inhibitors of the aldosterone synthase enzyme to Angion Biomedica. The exclusive pact comes seven years after ElexoPharm struck a deal granting Merck rights to drugs against the same target.
Merck subsequently filed for patents and published papers in academic journals with ElexoPharm. But, while Merck has continued to publish papers about aldosterone synthase inhibitors on its own, the flow of news about its collaboration with ElexoPharm has dried up. Now ElexoPharm has unveiled a new deal covering the same target.
Saarbrücken, Germany-based ElexoPharm landed the Merck deal on the strength of the potential for inhibitors of aldosterone synthase to treat cardiovascular diseases including hypertension. Angion’s statement about its deal with ElexoPharm nods to the role cutting aldosterone levels may play in treating these diseases. But the focus of the agreement is on other indications. 
“The novel ElexoPharm portfolio of compounds provides for a valuable source of new chemical entities in order to help Angion advance its programs in chronic kidney disease”, Angion CEO Itzhak Goldberg, M.D. said in a statement.
Angion already has a chronic renal disease program in preclinical development. That asset is a fibro kinase inhibitor. The acquired synthase inhibitors are designed to improve outcomes by reducing levels of aldosterone, a steroid hormone linked to the progression of the disease.  
Rolf Hartmann, Ph.D., the founder of ElexoPharm, talked up the prospects of Angion getting the compounds into the clinic. Hartmann’s lab was the the original source of the compounds and the professor worked with Merck on its program after the 2010 deal. 
Merck paid €1.5 million upfront and committed to up to €32.3 million in milestones to land its deal. Angion didn't disclose the terms of its agreement with ElexoPharm.