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Gilead Sciences, Scholar Collaborate On Novel Therapies For Fibrotic Diseases

Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD) and Scholar Rock Holding Corp. (SRRK) said that they entered into a strategic collaboration to discover and develop highly specific inhibitors of transforming growth factor beta or TGFß activation for the treatment of fibrotic diseases.

As per the collaboration, Gilead has exclusive options to license worldwide rights to product candidates that emerge from three Scholar Rock TGFß programs: inhibitors that target activation of latent TGFß1 with high affinity and specificity, inhibitors that selectively target activation of latent TGFß1 localized to extracellular matrix, and a third TGFß discovery program.

Scholar Rock is responsible for antibody discovery and preclinical research through product candidate nomination, after which, upon exercising the option for a program, Gilead will be responsible for the program's preclinical and clinical development and commercialization. Scholar Rock retains exclusive worldwide rights to discover, develop, and commercialize certain TGFß inhibitors for oncology and cancer immunotherapy.

As per the collaboration agreement, Scholar Rock will receive $80 million in upfront payments, comprised of $50 million cash and $30 million purchase of Scholar Rock Holding Corporation common stock. In addition, Scholar Rock will receive a one-time milestone payment of $25 million upon the successful completion of specific preclinical studies and be eligible to receive up to an additional $1.425 billion in potential payments aggregated across all three programs based on the successful achievement of certain research, development, regulatory and commercialization milestones.

Scholar Rock would also receive high single-digit to low double-digit tiered royalties on sales of potential future products originating from the collaboration.

Fibrosis is a debilitating pathological feature of many diseases that scars tissues and vital organs and is a major cause of morbidity and mortality. TGFß-driven signaling is thought to be a central regulator of fibrosis. Inhibitors of TGFß signaling discovered through Scholar Rock's proprietary platform have been shown to selectively prevent the activation of the growth factor in the fibrotic matrix in vitro and in preclinical models.

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