Tium Bio announced on Jan. 10 that it signed a technology export agreement worth US$74 million (83 billion won) with Chiesi Farmaceutici, an Italian global pharmaceutical company, for NCE401, which is a major therapeutic drug candidate for lung disease.
NCE401 is a candidate for a mechanism that inhibits TGF-β, which plays an important role in fibroblast proliferation. NCE401, which targets the pathway that leads to fibrosis, is expected to be developed as a new drug for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis with high medical needs.
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is a rare intractable disease in which more than 60 percent of patients die within five years after the onset due to lung impairment and fibrosis with unknown cause. The conventional treatments that were approved in 2015 are Roche's Pirfenidone and Boehringer Ingelheim's Nintedanib. Global market research firm Global Data predicts that the size of the idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis market will rapidly grow from about 1 trillion won (US$893.54 million) in 2015 to 3.5 trillion (US$3.10 billion) won by 2025.
According to the agreement, Chiesi will conduct global clinical trials for development and commercialization of a respiratory disease treatment. It will pay Tium Bio US$1 million as down payment and up to US$73 million in milestone payments, which are paid when each milestone in the development and commercialization process is achieved. Tium Bio is also entitled to royalty payments after commercialization.