Allergan Inc on Tuesday said it had paid $50 million for Akarna Therapeutics Ltd, a privately held company developing treatments for a incurable fatty liver disease called NASH.
Just hours earlier, Allergan said it would buy Tobira Therapeutics Inc, also a developer of therapies for NASH, in a deal worth up to $1.7 billion. [nL3N1BW3GA]
Allergan said it would also make potential clinical, regulatory and commercial milestone payments related to Akarna's lead product, a NASH drug called AKN-083, which has not yet gone into human trials. It works by stimulating a naturally occurring protein called FXR (farnesoid X receptor).
FXR agonists, which are also being studied by Gilead Sciences Inc and other drugmakers, have shown potential in animal studies to improve cholesterol levels and cut levels of blood fats called triglycerides.
Tobira, whose leading experimental medicine, cenicriviroc, has shown promise against NASH in mid-stage trials and is slated to enter Phase 3 studies next year. The disease, affecting more than 15 million Americans, is closely linked to obesity.
Allergan said cenicriviroc and another experimental Tobira drug, evogliptin, could be "highly complementary" to AKN-083.
(Reporting by Ransdell Pierson; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)