HOOKIPA Pharma Inc. (OTCMKTS: HOOK) has announced the signing of a restated and amended partnership and license deal with Gilead to develop proprietary arenaviral immunotherapy as a component of a possible functional curative regimen for HIV (human immunodeficiency virus).
Gilead acquired exclusive rights to arenaviral technology
Gilead acquired exclusive rights to HOOKIPA’s multipurpose arenaviral technology in April 2018 to create HIV and hepatitis B virus immunotherapies (HBV). The firms agreed to work together during a cooperative research stage, following which Gilead would have rights to continued development.HOOKIPA is responsible for progressing the HIV program to the conclusion of a Phase 1b clinical study, with funds provided by Gilead in the form of equity purchases and an upfront payment. Gilead has the sole right to continue developing the program after the Phase 1b trial is completed. The component of the agreement dealing with HBV has not changed.
CEO of HOOKIPA, Joern Aldag, said, “We are pleased to enter into this amended agreement with Gilead which includes provisions that we believe benefit both parties, and we hope ultimately the HIV community. Gilead is helping to advance our novel arenaviral platform technology, which has the potential to complement Gilead’s overall research strategies for cures of HIV and HBV.”
HOOKIPA to receive $15 million payout
Under the initial 2018 partnership and licensing agreement, Hookipa received a one-time $4 million developmental milestone payment. Hookipa will get a $15 million payout once the updated deal is signed. Gilead will also offer a $5 million ownership stake in HOOKIPA at a discount to the market price and up to $30 million in further equity financing available to HOOKIPA by December 31 2023.
According to the initial agreement terms, HOOKIPA’s research partnership with Gilead to discover a possible therapeutic Hepatitis B virus (HBV) cure will continue. The project advanced well into the preclinical phase, and Gilead expects to bring it to the IND-enabling phase in 2022, paving the way for clinical trials of an alternate two-vector arenaviral therapy for HBV treatment.