Achillion Pharma Out-Licensed China Rights for HIV, Hepatitis Treatment

Achillion Pharmaceuticals (NSDQ: ACHN) out-licensed the China rights for elvucitabine, to GCA Therapeutics, Ltd. (GCAT) of Jersey City, New Jersey. Elvucitabine is a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) for the treatment of both hepatitis B virus (HBV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). GCAT has a China JV with Tianjing Institute of Pharmaceutical Research, which will be responsible for developing and commercializing the drug in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Elvucitabine has completed a Phase II trial in the US, in which it proved to be safe, well-tolerated and effective in patients with HBV or HIV.

Particular details of the agreement were not disclosed, but it was revealed that Achillion will be eligible to receive development milestones and double-digit royalties on net sales.

Elvucitabine is an L-cytosine nucleoside analog reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) that has shown antiviral activity against both HBV and HIV in the clinic, including strains resistant to other NRTIs. NRTIs are the predominant class of drugs used in HIV combination therapy. Elvucitabine has shown a longer half-life than other approved NRTIs, a competitive advantage among patients who might be less than perfectly compliant.

“GCAT and the TIPR have a demonstrated track record of successfully developing therapeutics for these large Asian markets,” said Michael D. Kishbauch, President and Chief Executive Officer of Achillion, explaining his company’s decision to choose them as a partner.

"We are very excited about the potential benefits of this product for HBV patients, especially given the potential market size in China, where HBV is quite prevalent and remains an unmet medical need,” added Dr. C. Mark Tang, Chairman of GCAT.

GCA Therapeutics was founded by US trained Chinese professionals and veterans in both finance and pharmaceuticals. Based in New Jersey, GCAT focuses on licensing western technologies and products to be developed and marketed in China.

Disclosure: none.