HemoShear Therapeutics, a privately held clinical stage biotechnology company, has earned a milestone payment for the advancement of potential lead product candidates for the treatment of gout under its collaboration with Horizon Therapeutics plc (Nasdaq: HZNP). This milestone marks the fourth payment that HemoShear has earned, following previous payments for the identification and validation of two novel gout drug targets in accordance with the Horizon exclusive drug discovery agreement established in January 2019.
“Horizon has been a great partner throughout this collaboration,” said Brian Wamhoff, PhD, chief operating officer of HemoShear. “By combining Horizon’s expertise in gout with HemoShear’s REVEAL-TxTM drug discovery platform, we are managing a research program that has generated new insights into the disease process, identified novel gout targets, and generated several first-in-class modulators of these targets.”
Under the terms of the agreement, HemoShear received an upfront payment and R&D funding, and Horizon received exclusive access to HemoShear’s proprietary disease modeling platform, to discover new therapeutics for gout. Successful development and commercialization of multiple therapies by Horizon will make HemoShear eligible to receive milestone payments of potentially more than $500 million plus royalties. Further financial terms were not disclosed.
Gout is a chronic, progressive inflammatory form of arthritis affecting more than nine million people in the United States that is caused by excess uric acid in the body and needs to be managed aggressively. If uric acid levels in the blood remain elevated, crystals can form and deposit in the joints, which can lead to severe pain, tenderness, stiffness, swelling, and joint damage. In addition to the joint damage, urate crystals can also deposit in other organs of the body, and if left unmanaged, gout can lead to significant tissue damage. Uncontrolled gout occurs when people living with gout continue to have high levels of uric acid and gout symptoms despite the use of standard oral urate-lowering therapies.