New Business Partnership Focuses on HCV Drug Delivery Method
Metabasis Receives $2M Payment from Roche
Roche, the giant Swiss drug maker, plans to advance an experimental hepatitis C drug being developed with technologies from San Diego-based Metabasis Therapeutics into the clinic, Metabasis said June 5.
Under an agreement signed last year, Metabasis will be eligible to receive up to $193 million in milestone payments on top of a $10 million payment it already received.
The companies entered into a two-year research collaboration in August to develop new treatments for the hepatitis C virus, a contagious liver disease that counts 3.2 million people in the United States as chronic sufferers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Roche saw potential in Metabasis’ HepDirect technology, which helps guide antiviral drugs into the liver. Metabasis said it received a $2 million milestone payment recently in recognition of advances made on their research collaboration.
The announcement comes on the heels of a major restructuring at the struggling biotech, which is evaluating whether it has enough financial support to remain in business. On May 27, the company trimmed its previously reduced staff from 45 employees to seven. It reported $11.8 million in cash as of March 31.
Metabasis stock trades on the Nasdaq as MBRX. Shares closed June 5 up 4 cents, or 12.5 percent, to 36 cents.
— Heather Chambers
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