Novo Nordisk has signed a collaboration and exclusive option agreement with Dutch drug maker Staten Biotechnology for the development of new therapies to treat hypertriglyceridaemia.

The move is in line with Novo Nordisk’s strategy to expand into the cardiovascular diseases area.

Under the terms of the deal, Novo Nordisk will offer research and development (R&D) funding and support to Staten for developing its STT-5058 product candidate for dyslipidaemia.

Hypertriglyceridemia is characterised by high fat levels in blood and considered as a serious risk factor for cardiovascular disease, particularly in patients with diabetes and obesity.

Developed by Staten in alliance with argenx, STT-5058 is a human antibody designed to target apoC3 epitopes that reduce triglycerides and increase atherogenic remnant lipoproteins clearance.

Novo Nordisk Global Drug Discovery senior vice-president Marcus Schindler said: “Staten Biotechnology has developed STT-5058, a new promising concept validated by human genetics, for the treatment of hypertriglyceridemia.

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“Combining Staten’s know-how on STT-5058 with Novo Nordisk experience in drug development, the project holds potential to make a real difference for people suffering from cardiovascular disease.”

“Combining Staten’s know-how on STT-5058, the scientific excellence of the company’s executive team and founders, with Novo Nordisk experience in drug development and commercialisation, the project holds potential to make a real difference for people suffering from cardiovascular disease.”

As part of the agreement, Novo Nordisk will potentially pay up to €430m ($487m) in signing and exercise fees, R&D funding and milestone payments to Staten Biotechnology.

Furthermore, Novo Nordisk holds the right to acquire Staten Biotechnology and in turn obtain worldwide rights to STT-5058.

Staten Biotechnology CEO Hilde Steineger said: “Novo Nordisk is joining forces with Staten Biotechnology at an exciting time for us, with the company’s lead compound moving towards its first clinical trial, aiming to address the residual cardiovascular risk in patients with hypertriglyceridaemia.

“This partnership provides the company not only with a knowledgeable development partner but also with a funding structure that allows founders, management and the founding investors to accelerate the development of the company.”