SINGAPORE (Jan 9): German pharmaceutical giant Boehringer Ingelheim is acquiring assets and intellectual property from Singapore-based biotech company Enleofen Bio, in a step towards finding effective treatments for fibro-inflammatory diseases.

In a press release on Thursday, Enleofen says Boehringer Ingelheim has acquired worldwide exclusive rights to Enleofen’s preclinical interleukin-11 (IL-11) platform.

For each new product, Boehringer Ingelheim will pay Enleofen earnout payments of more than US$1 billion ($1.35 billion) in upfront and success-based development and commercialisation milestones.

According to Enleofen, the deal is the largest for any biotech company in Singapore, and among the biggest globally for preclinical stage programmes.

Enleofen is a spin-out from National Heart Centre Singapore (NHCS), SingHealth and Duke-NUS Medical School, under the SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medical Centre (AMC), Singapore.

Fibrosis is a serious condition that causes scarring of tissues and organ failure that can prove fatal. However, there is currently no viable treatment available.

Enleofen’s breakthrough discovery and development of IL-11’s role in fibrosis and preclinical stage drug candidates has the potential to be developed further by Boehringer Ingelheim into viable drugs to treat different fibrosis related issues.

“More than 225 million people worldwide suffer from heart and kidney failure, which resulted from the hardening of the organ tissues with no treatment. The development of anti-IL-11 therapies will offer hope to patients with end-stage heart, kidney, lung or liver failure, addressing the unmet medical needs of patients worldwide,” says Professor Terrance Chua, Medical Director of NHCS and Group Chairman of the medical board at SingHealth.

With the acquisition, Boehringer Ingelheim will accelerate the IL-11 platform and products towards clinical development. The pharmaceutical firm is already the global leader in the treatment of fibrotic lung diseases and in therapeutic antibodies.

“This collaboration brings together Boehringer Ingelheim’s expertise in drug development and NHCS’ and SingHealth Duke-NUS AMC’s strengths in clinical care and translational research. This is a crucial step in the translational medicine process, and puts us in good stead to bring new anti-IL11 therapies and improve healthcare outcomes for patients in Singapore and beyond,” says Professor Ivy Ng, SingHealth’s Group CEO.

One of the fastest-growing industries in Singapore, the biotechnology sector is seen to play a key role in shaping the city state’s future economy.