Parion Sciences has landed a drug development deal with Gilead Sciences that could be worth up to $146 million.
Gilead, which is based in California, paid Parion an up-front fee of $5 million and also agreed to invest $5 million in the company. Parion has raised some $20 million in venture capital.
The deal covers the drug candidate P-680, which targets pulmonary diseases, such as cystic fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The companies also will work together on other drug discovery projects.
Parion, which has licensed technology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is focused diseases that can be traced to failures in the body’s mucosal defenses. Its technology deals with so-called ENaC inhibitors, which stimulate and maintain hydration on mucosal surfaces such as the lung, mouth, nose and eyes.
P-552, the lead product at Parion, is currently in Phase II clinical trials. The drug targets cystic fibrosis and Sjogren’s syndrome.
After Parion conducts studies that lead to an investigational new drug with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Gilead will be responsible for further development. If the drug is approved by the FDA, Parion will receive royalties.
“This agreement validates the importance of ENaC inhibitors in the treatment of diseases involving defects in the innate defenses of the body’s mucosal surfaces,” said Paul Boucher, director of operations of Parion, in a statement. “This partnership enables us to accelerate our development of P-680 and broaden our research programs. We are pleased to have the support of a company with an outstanding track record in the field of infectious diseases and pulmonary medicine.”