Boehringer sets sights on Surrozen's preclinical retinal disease asset in $600M deal

Boehringer Ingelheim has its eyes on Surrozen, paying the California biotech $12.5 million upfront for its preclinical asset designed to regenerate healthy eye tissue and potentially reverse retinal disease.

Under the agreement, Boehringer will receive an exclusive, worldwide license to develop Surrozen’s bispecific antibody SZN-413. In addition to the $12.5 million upfront, Surrozen could make up to $586.5 million in milestone payments, as well as mid-single-digit to low-double-digit royalties on any potential sales. After a period of joint research, the big pharma is set to take over all development and commercial responsibilities.

Surrozen designed SZN-413 to treat retinal vascular-associated diseases via Wnt signaling pathways, which play a significant role in immune cell maintenance and renewal. Preclinical data has shown that the bispecific antibody can stimulate Wnt signaling in the eye, induce normal retinal vessel regrowth, stop pathological vessel growth and reduce vascular leakage. The approach could potentially help healthy eye tissue regenerate, which would not only freeze retinopathy but possibly allow for a full reversal of the disease, according to Surrozen.

The clinical-stage biotech debuted on the Nasdaq in August 2021 after a deal with special purpose acquisition company Consonance-HFW Acquisition Corp. Surrozen is developing a pipeline across multiple disease areas, with two phase 1 studies in inflammatory bowel disease and severe alcoholic hepatitis, respectively.