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Dicerna and Novo Nordisk enter agreement

Novo Nordisk headquarters

Dicerna Pharmaceuticals and Novo Nordisk have announced an agreement to discover and develop novel therapies for the treatment of liver-related cardio-metabolic diseases using Dicerna’s GalXC RNAi platform technology.

The collaboration plans to explore more than 30 liver cell targets and may deliver multiple clinical candidates for disorders including chronic liver disease, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), type 2 diabetes, obesity, and rare diseases. Dicerna will conduct and fund discovery and preclinical development to clinical candidate selection for each liver cell target, and Novo Nordisk will be responsible for all further development.

A significant investment

The agreement represents a significant investment by Novo Nordisk to secure access to Dicerna’s GalXC RNAi platform, which complements its existing technology base. The collaboration provides Novo Nordisk with the capability to inhibit hepatocyte targets involved in disease regulation and has the potential to generate a number of clinical development candidates.


The agreement enables each company to co-develop and co-commercialise product candidates discovered under the collaboration. Novo Nordisk will lead programmes targeting cardio-metabolic disorders and other indications with Dicerna having the option to opt into two programmes during clinical development. Dicerna retains rights to initiate two new orphan liver disease programmes for which Novo Nordisk can opt in. For all co-development programmes, the companies will share in the profit/loss of net sales of products consistent with each company’s contribution to co-development costs.

“Through this important collaboration with Dicerna, we gain access to an innovative technology and deep expertise in RNA interference,” said Marcus Schindler, senior vice president of Global Drug Discovery in Novo Nordisk. “Dicerna is the ideal partner to discover and develop molecules for targets that may yield multiple potential treatments across disease areas such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular and NASH. We will work closely together to unlock the true potential of treating a range of diseases using RNAi therapies, for the benefit of patients.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Dicerna will receive:

An upfront payment of USD 175 million.
A USD 50 million equity investment in Dicerna at a premium.
USD 25 million annually during each of the first three years of the collaboration, contingent on Dicerna delivering RNAi molecules for a defined number of targets.
Up to USD 357.5 million per target in development, regulatory and commercialisation milestone payments, plus tiered royalties on product sales ranging from the mid-single-digits to mid-teens.