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Pharmaceuticals

Buying binge for Allergan

by Rick Mullin
September 26, 2016 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 94, ISSUE 38

Allergan has acquired two companies developing therapies for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a severe liver disease associated with obesity. The drugmaker will pay as much as $1.7 billion for San Francisco-based Tobira Therapeutics, bringing into its research pipeline two NASH-targeting compounds, cenicriviroc and evogliptin. Allergan also will pay $50 million for U.K.-based Akarna Therapeutics, which has a preclinical farnesoid X receptor agonist that is considered complementary to Tobira’s NASH candidates. NASH is characterized by accumulation of fat in the liver accompanied by inflammation and cellular damage. “NASH is set to become one of the next epidemic-level chronic diseases we face as a society,” says Allergan CEO Brent Saunders. Earlier this month Allergan acquired Vitae Pharmaceuticals, a dermatology specialist, for $639 million, and RetroSense Therapeutics, a gene therapy firm with a focus on eye care.

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