Gilead Sciences Inc. announced on April 4 that it has signed an agreement worth $1.2 billion with Nimbus Therapeutics LLC to acquire the latter's Nimbus Apollo, Inc. and Acetyl-CoA Carboxylase (ACC) inhibitor program.

Gilead will pay an upfront cost of $400 million to Nimbus and will subsequently make an additional $800 million payment if specific milestones have been achieved.

The Nimbus Apollo and ACC inhibitor programs are currently being tested to treat nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), which is caused by fat buildup in the liver.

The Power Of Inhibitors

The Nimbus Apollo, a wholly owned subsidiary of Nimbus Therapeutics, entails various preclinical ACC inhibitors including the lead NDI-010976. These inhibitors are said to be beneficial to patients with NASH and possibly to those with hepatocellular carcinoma and other medical conditions.

ACC inhibitors work by decreasing the uncontrolled signals from lipids that may result in fat accumulation, inflammation and cell damage.

In February, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave NDI-010976 a Fast Track designation, which gives drugs expedited review so development can be facilitated to address life-threatening conditions or fulfill unmet medical needs.

All About Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis

NASH is an advanced liver condition caused by metabolic impairments linked with fat accumulation inside the liver. The disease may result in inflammation, injury and progressive damage to liver cells.

In the U.S. alone, approximately 15 million individuals are affected by NASH. With this, experts are anticipating that NASH will be the main deciding factor for liver transplants by the year 2020.

Looking Forward

Gilead's Norbert Bischofberger says acquiring Nimbus is a timely and essential chance to speed up Gilead's existing actions to address the unmet areas of NASH.

Nimbus' Don Nicholson is also happy with the deal, saying the company is confident that Gilead is a good collaborator to hasten and increase the potential of the ACC inhibitor program. He adds that the deal highlights the ability of Nimbus to quickly discover, create and improve interventions that cater to unmet needs – something which the company plans to apply in their other medical projects.

Once the agreement has been finalized, Nimbus Apollo will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Gilead Sciences. However, Nimbus Therapeutics will still own some of the research subsidiaries.

"Gilead will be solely responsible for future development and commercialization of NDI-010976 and other ACC inhibitors," the press release reads.

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