The companies will work together on the development and commercialisation of MicroDose’s MDT-637: an inhalable small molecule antiviral fusion inhibitor for the treatment of RSV.
Under the terms of the deal Gilead will make an upfront payment and support the development of MDT-637 through Phase IIa clinical trials, after which it will assume full responsibility for all subsequent trials.
Commenting on the agreement, Anand Gumaste, president and CEO of MicroDose, said: “This strategic collaboration is a significant milestone in MicroDose’s vision to develop first-in-class therapies for major unmet medical needs.
“Given Gilead’s scientific and clinical expertise in virology, this partnership provides a strong validation of the potential for MDT-637 to become an important therapeutic advance for those affected by RSV infection.”
MicroDose claims the MDT-637 inhibitor has been proven to block RSV infection in preclinical testing. The formulation is optimised for pulmonary delivery using the company’s proprietary dry powder inhaler.
Norbert Bischofberger, executive vice president and chief scientific officer of Gilnead, said he had high hopes for the product.
“There is an urgent need to improve upon RSV treatment and care,” he said, “We believe this program aligns well with our expertise in both antiviral and respiratory drug development and we look forward to working with the MicroDose team to advance MDT-637 into clinical testing.”
News of the deal with MicroDose may come as a welcome tonic for Gilead after the company posted disappointing financial figures for the first quarter of 2011.
Royalty and contract revenues were down 79 per cent from $298m (€203m) in Q1 2010, to $63m (€43m): a precipitous drop the company blames on lower Tamiflu royalties from Swiss pharma giant, Roche, and a decline in global pandemic planning initiatives.
Revenues from Tamiflu alone plummeted from $246m (€169m) in the first quarter of 2010, to $11.1m (€7.5m) this year.