Novo Nordisk announced Thursday that it has entered an exclusive development and license agreement for $70 million with Ventus Therapeutics for its NLRP3 inhibitor program.

As part of the transaction, Novo Nordisk will have exclusive rights to develop and commercialize the NLRP3 inhibitor program for several diseases like nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) as well as chronic kidney disease and other cardiometabolic conditions. 

The deal includes potential milestones of up to $633 million as well as royalty payments and R&D funding. Ventus will retain full rights to its brain-penetrant NLRP3 inhibitor and other NLRP3 inhibitors. 

“NLRP3 is a biologically relevant target with significant potential across a number of liver, kidney, and cardiometabolic diseases,” Karin Conde-Knape, SVP of Global Drug Discovery at Novo Nordisk, said in a statement. “Ventus has developed a highly differentiated NLRP3 inhibitor program with best-in-class properties and compelling pre-clinical results.”

Similarly, Ventus CEO Marcelo Bigal, M.D., Ph.D. said that the deal marked an “important collaboration” for the company and noted that Novo Nordisk was the “ideal partner” to advance its lead NLRP3 program. 

The Ventus deal was announced weeks after Novo Nordisk said it would acquire Forma Therapeutics, a clinical stage biotech focused on addressing rare blood disorders, for $1.1 billion.