Pharma Focus Europe

Ochre Biomedicine and Bailingjia Ingelheim Collaborate on Innovative Treatments for Advanced Liver Disease

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Ochre Bio, a pioneer in the realm of drug development for chronic liver ailments, has forged a partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim, a prominent German pharmaceutical company. Their joint efforts will concentrate on researching and developing innovative regenerative therapies for chronic liver diseases (CLDs) like metabolic steatohepatitis (MASH) and cirrhosis.

The collaboration aims to devise new therapies targeting regenerative pathways to bolster the liver's natural self-repair mechanisms, potentially preventing or reversing disease progression. Ochre Bio will utilize its patented drug discovery platform, which integrates machine learning and vast human data repositories, alongside advanced imaging and deep genomic profiling, proprietary RNA chemistry research, and exclusive access to patented in vitro human organ perfusion technology. These tools are poised to expedite the identification, characterization, and validation of multiple innovative regenerative targets for treating chronic liver diseases.

The partnership will harness Ochre Bio's unique human database and disease models to accelerate the development and validation of new targets for liver disease treatment. Boehringer Ingelheim brings its distinctive technology platform aimed at improving the quality of life for patients with cardiovascular, renal, and metabolic diseases, including metabolic steatohepatitis.

Chronic liver diseases can lead to a gradual decline in the liver's natural regenerative capacity, resulting in severe complications such as liver failure or cancer. With approximately 1 million deaths attributed to chronic liver disease and cirrhosis annually worldwide, there is a critical need for innovative and effective treatments. Additionally, chronic liver disease significantly impairs health-related quality of life and imposes substantial economic burdens. Given the lack of approved drugs for cirrhosis associated with chronic liver disease, there is a pressing demand for novel therapeutic options.

Søren Tullin, Ph.D., Senior Vice President and Global Head of Cardiometabolic Disease Research at Boehringer Ingelheim, expressed optimism about the collaboration, citing Ochre Bio's impressive capabilities in liver disease research. Leveraging advanced genomics and machine learning technologies, coupled with a patient-centric translation model, Ochre Bio aims to uncover new regenerative pathways with the potential to significantly impact the lives of patients with chronic liver diseases.

Quin Wills, Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Ochre Bio, highlighted the severity of chronic liver disease as a global health crisis with significant unmet medical needs. Wills expressed enthusiasm for collaborating with Boehringer Ingelheim's exceptional team of scientists, emphasizing the shared belief in liver regeneration as a promising therapeutic avenue for patients facing liver failure.

Under the terms of this multi-year, multi-target collaborative agreement, Ochre Bio stands to receive an upfront payment of up to $35 million, along with milestone payments for initial research milestones. Additionally, Ochre Bio retains rights across all stages of clinical development, regulatory oversight, and market commercialization. Successful milestones will trigger royalty payments, with the total value of the collaboration expected to surpass $1 billion.



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