Gilead and insitro announce strategic collaboration to discover and develop novel therapies for NASH

Gilead and insitro Collaborate to Discover and Develop Novel Therapies for NASH using ISH

Gilead Sciences (GILD) and insitro entered into a strategic collaboration to discover and develop treatments for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).


A chronic form of liver disease characterized by excess fat in the liver, inflammation, and liver cell damage. Inflammation and liver cell damage can cause scarring of the liver or fibrosis. Ultimately leading to cirrhosis or liver cancer. NASH is more common in people with certain conditions, including obesity and type 2 diabetes. There are currently limited approved treatments for patients living with NASH.

Under the Terms of the Three-Year Collaboration Between Gilead and insitro:

Both companies will be using insitro’s Human (ISH) platform towards the creation of disease models for NASH; discovering targets that have an influence on clinical progression and regression of the disease and predict outcomes of treatments. The ISH platform applies machine learning, human genetics and functional genomics for the sake of generating and optimizing unique in vitro models as well as driving therapeutic discovery and development.

The ISH platform provides:

  • insights into disease progression,
  • it suggests candidate targets and
  • predicts patient responses to potential therapeutic interventions.

Gilead can advance up to five targets identified through this collaboration and will be responsible for chemistry used against these targets.

Quotes from the Experts at Gilead and insitro

John McHutchison, AO, MD, Chief Scientific Officer and Head of Research and Development, Gilead Sciences, said, Gilead is committed to researching and developing treatments for patients living with NASH, particularly those with advanced fibrosis who have the greatest unmet need. We are excited about the opportunity to partner with insitro to tackle the scientific challenges associated with this complex disease. Through this collaboration, we will utilize deep learning to explore the scientific underpinnings of the biology and clinical spectrum of NASH, with the goal of accelerating the development of highly effective treatment options for patients with this disease.”

Daphne Koller, Ph.D., CEO and founder of insitro, said, NASH is a progressive liver disease that can lead to fibrosis, cirrhosis, and liver cancer and will soon be the predominant cause of liver transplantation in the U.S.  We are excited to work with Gilead, a leader in liver disease, in bringing to bear novel tools toward identifying new therapeutics for NASH and helping the many patients in need around the world.”

About insitro

Using machine learning to transform the way drugs are discovered and delivered to patients insitro is a data-driven drug discovery and development company. By generating high-throughput, functional genomic data sets that align with patient data and interpreting those data via novel machine learning methods insitro builds predictive models that can accelerate target selection and the design of effective therapeutics.

By building a high-throughput bio-data factory based on state-of-the-art technologies from bioengineering insitro allows for the creation of large data sets that enable cutting edge machine learning methods to be brought to bear on key bottlenecks in drug development.

In 2018 insitro was launched with a Series A of over $100 million funded by a16z, Arch Venture Partners, Foresite Capital, GV (formerly Google Ventures) and Third Rock Ventures. There were additional investments from Alexandria Venture Investments, Bezos Expeditions, Mubadala Investment Company, Two Sigma Ventures, Verily and other undisclosed investors.

The company is located in South San Francisco, CA. For more information on insitro, please visit the company’s website at

Under the terms of the agreement insitro will also:

  • receive an upfront payment of $15 million and
  • additional near-term payments up to $35 million based on operational milestones.
  • insitro will be eligible to receive up to receive $200 million for the achievement of preclinical, development, regulatory and commercial milestones for each of the five Gilead targets and up to low double-digit tiered royalties on net sales.

For programs where insitro opts in it will have the right to co-develop and co-detail in the U.S., receive a profit share in China and receive milestone payments and royalties on other ex-U.S. sales. 

Prohost Observations

As we wrote in The Week in Review #40 posted this morning, Gilead has come to the conclusion that NASH is not a simple disease but a complex disorder that might require a combination of products to target the various pathways of this condition. Determined to conquer NASH Gilead is collaborating with various firms in order to pinpoint the combination of treatments that can bring the best results.     

Selecting insitro for collaboration is an excellent choice by Gilead. Using machine learning insitro has gathered what all serious drug developers hope to have in hand, i.e., the capability of creating predictive models which help accelerate the momentum of target selection and the design of effective therapeutics.

To read more articles about these firms please run a search from our site by clicking here.

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