Novartis AG signed an exclusive option, collaboration and license agreement with Conatus Pharmaceuticals Inc. to develop new oral treatments for chronic liver diseases.
Novartis paid an up-front amount of $50 million to Conatus and intends to pay any additional exercise fee following achievement of certain criteria as defined in the option, collaboration and license agreement, including required antitrust approvals.
The agreement will ensure the development of emricasan, an investigational, oral inhibitor for the treatment of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis with advanced fibrosis and cirrhosis.
Under the terms of the agreement, Conatus will conduct multiple Phase 2b clinical trials with emricasan.
Both Novartis and Conatus aim to expand treatment options for people in various stages of fatty liver disease, where no approved medicines currently exist.