MORRISVILLE – A drug development deal once declared to be potentially worth several hundred million dollars between nanotech firm Liquidia and pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline has been restructured.

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In a deal announced after the markets closed Wednesday, Liquidia said it had regained the rights to develop and commercialize three potential compounds based on its proprietary nanotech innovation known as PRINT (Particle Replication In Non-Wetting Templates). The drugs would be delivered through inhalation.

Liquidia (Nasdaq: LQDA), which went public in 2018 for some $50 million, and GSK (NYSE: GSK) struck the original deal in 2012.

“We are very excited by the opportunity to build on the benefits of PRINT technology in inhaled delivery, as evidenced by the success of our clinical studies with LIQ861, the first inhaled dry powder formulation of treprostinil to treat patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension,” Liquidia CEO Neal Fowler said in a statement. “Although submitting the New Drug Application (NDA) for LIQ861 remains our top priority in 2019, we also see clear opportunities to further expand the Liquidia pipeline of respiratory products.”

LIQ861 has remained under Liquidia control, the company said.

Liquidia also says it “can acquire rights to pursue additional PRINT-based programs for inhalation therapy, subject to GSK’s approval.”

However, GSK retains the right of first refusal regarding possible agreements with other firms, Liquidia added.

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Also, any such “agreement would carry milestone and royalty obligations due to GSK, beginning with the initiation of a Phase 3 clinical trial.”

In the 2012 deal, GSK took an equity stake in Liquidia, which was founded in 2004 by former NCSU and UNC-CH professor Dr. Joseph DeSimone.

“Upfront payment, R&D funding, licensing, and development and regulatory milestone payments under this collaboration could total up to several hundred million dollars upon all contingent payments coming due,” Liquidia said at the time.

Deal points included:

  • An upfront payment, comprised of cash and equity
  • Research and development funding
  • Potential additional license fees
  • Development milestones
  • Royalties from resulting products produced by the GSK-Liquidia research

Liquidia believes the technology has the potential to revolutionize drug development, the nanotechnology enabling the engineering of drug development and delivery.

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