Ionis pharmaceuticals has announced that GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has exercised its option to license Ionis' antisense medicines for people with chronic hepatitis B virus (CHB) infection following positive Phase II results.

As a part of the licensing agreement, Ionis has announced that it is eligible to receive license fees and milestone payments up to $262 million, including a $25 million license fee. In addition, the company is also eligible to receive tiered royalties in the low double digits on net sales.

As a result of the deal, GSK is now responsible for all development, regulatory and commercialisation activities and costs.

"By targeting the root cause of CHB-related liver disease, our antisense technology can potentially deliver a transformative medicine for people who suffer from chronic hepatitis B virus infection," said Brett P. Monia, chief operating officer at Ionis.

He continued, "We believe GSK's development and commercialization expertise in infectious diseases makes them the ideal partner to help address this high unmet need."

CHB is a chronic viral infection of the liver that can lead to significant and potentially fatal health conditions, including cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer. Current treatments for patients with CHB provide low levels of hepatitis B virus S antigen seroclearance, leaving many patients without a treatment to achieve sustained disease remission. There are more than 200 million patients worldwide living with CHB.