Press Release

Ipsen and GENFIT enter into exclusive licensing agreement for elafibranor, a Phase III asset evaluated in Primary Biliary Cholangitis, as part of a long-term global partnership

  • Agreement gives Ipsen global1 rights to develop and commercialize GENFIT’s late-stage, first-in-class PPAR alpha and delta agonist elafibranor in Primary Biliary Cholangitis (PBC)
  • Investigational treatment elafibranor being evaluated in the global Phase III trial, ELATIVETM, with topline data expected early 2023
  • GENFIT receives €120m upfront and is eligible to receive up to €360m in milestone payments as well as tiered double-digit royalties of up to 20%
  • Ipsen becomes 8% shareholder of GENFIT via an equity investment of €28m


Paris (France), 17 December 2021 – Ipsen (Euronext: IPN; ADR: IPSEY) and GENFIT (Nasdaq and Euronext: GNFT) have entered into a long-term strategic partnership for global collaboration between the two companies. The agreement gives Ipsen exclusive worldwide* license to develop, manufacture and commercialize GENFIT’s investigational treatment elafibranor, for people living with Primary Biliary Cholangitis (PBC). The partnership also gives Ipsen access to future clinical programs led by GENFIT and combines GENFIT’s scientific expertise and proprietary technologies in liver disease with Ipsen’s development and commercialization capabilities. To underscore the long-term commitment represented by this partnership, Ipsen will also purchase newly issued GENFIT equity representing 8% post-issuance through a €28m investment in GENFIT, becoming one of the largest shareholders.

The ongoing, pivotal Phase III global trial, ELATIVETM, 1 is evaluating the safety and efficacy of elafibranor in 150 people living with PBC who have an inadequate response or intolerance to ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA). Global recruitment is well underway. There is significant unmet medical need for people with PBC and, following positive Phase II data, 2 elafibranor was granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation by the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Orphan Drug Designation by the U.S. FDA and European Medicines Agency (EMA). 3,4 Results from the Phase II randomized double-blind, placebo controlled trial found that after 12 weeks of dosing with elafibranor, patients with PBC unresponsive to UDCA experienced significantly reduced levels of disease-activity markers including alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and composite endpoints with bilirubin as well as other markers of disease activity when compared to placebo.2

David Loew, Chief Executive Officer, Ipsen, said “Today’s announcement marks an exciting new stage in Ipsen’s ambitions to expand our portfolio to support more people living with rare diseases around the world. We are excited by elafibranor’s data package, demonstrating the potential benefit of this first-in-class, innovative treatment option to help the PBC community. We look forward to the results of the ongoing Phase III program and regulatory submissions around the world to bring this potential new treatment option to patients. Ipsen is pleased to partner with GENFIT, a company that shares our common values and goals of bringing to market first-in-class treatments to improve the lives of people living with rare conditions like PBC.”


Pascal Prigent, Chief Executive Officer of GENFIT added: “We are excited to partner with Ipsen and launch this long-term strategic collaboration, with the goal to accelerate our growth and generate value for our shareholders. Ipsen’s world-class development capabilities, well-established global commercial footprint and excellent track record in delivering therapies to patient populations with unmet medical need makes it the ideal partner for GENFIT. Today’s landmark agreement demonstrates our ability to advance highly promising assets into late-stage development in-house and derive significant value. While we hope, above all, that this partnership with Ipsen will be a significant step towards having a positive impact on the lives of millions of patients suffering from life-threatening liver diseases, we also believe our shareholders will recognize the benefit offered by this collaboration model. The transaction proceeds indeed reinforce GENFIT’s long-term financial visibility, including further funding for GENFIT to expand its pipeline, and they also provide opportunities for targeted business development, as exemplified by today’s other announcement regarding our in-licensing of a new molecule.”


PBC is a rare, progressive, chronic autoimmune disease of the liver.5 Bile is a liquid produced inside the liver that is used to help digest fats and remove waste products from the body.6 PBC leads to a slow, progressive destruction of the small bile ducts of the liver, causing bile and other toxins to build up in the liver (known as cholestasis).5 Further damage can lead to scarring, fibrosis and eventually cirrhosis of the liver.5 Common symptoms of PBC include fatigue and pruritus’ (itching) which can be debilitating and, in more advanced cases, jaundice.5 Untreated, PBC can lead to liver failure, or in some cases death. PBC is more common in women with nine women diagnosed for every man; it is also a leading cause of liver transplantation.5


GENFIT remains responsible for the Phase III ELATIVETM trial until the completion of the double-blind period. Ipsen will assume responsibility for all additional clinical development, including completion of the long-term extension period of the ELATIVETM trial, and global* commercialization. This newly established strategic partnership will also provide Ipsen with access to GENFIT’s research capabilities and other clinical programs through rights to first negotiation.

Under the agreement, Ipsen will pay GENFIT up to €480m, comprising upfront cash payment of €120m, as well as regulatory, commercial, and sales-based milestone payments up to €360m, plus tiered double-digit royalties of up to 20%. Ipsen also becomes a shareholder of GENFIT through the purchase of 3,985,239 newly issued shares representing 8% of GENFIT S.A after issuance, via a €28m investment. The new shares will be issued pursuant to the twentieth resolution of GENFIT’s 30 June 2021 shareholders’ meeting and will be subject, upon issuance, to a lock-up period ending, in the event of positive ELATIVE TM results, on the earlier of the date on which the EMA makes a formal recommendation to the European Commission for the marketing authorisation of elafibranor in PBC or the date on which the U.S. FDA grants approval of elafibranor in PBC. Issuance of the new shares is expected to take place on or about December 22, 2021. In addition, the Board of Directors of GENFIT will propose at the next shareholders’ meeting that Ipsen becomes a board member.

The transaction is expected to be dilutive to Ipsen’s profitability over the near term, primarily reflecting R&D and launch-preparation expenses. This is in line with Ipsen’s medium-term outlook regarding its strategic focus on building a high-value and sustainable pipeline through external innovation.


Conference call

A conference call and webcast for investors and analysts will begin at 14:30 CET today. Participants should dial in to the call early and can register here; a recording will be available on, while the webcast can be accessed here. The event ID is 7296852.

1.À l’exception de la Chine, de Hong Kong, de Taïwan et de Macao, où Terns Pharmaceuticals détient la licence exclusive pour développer et commercialiser elafibranor

ELATIVE. Clinical Trials. Available at:

2.Schattenberg JM, et al. A randomized placebo-controlled trial of elfibranor in patients with primary bilary cholangitis and incomplete responses to UDCA. Journal of Hepatology. 2021:74;1344-1354

3. GENFIT Press Release. 2019

4. European Medicines Agency. 2019.

5. Kimagi T, Heathcote EJ. Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2008; 3:1

6. NHS. Primary Biliary Cirrhosis.

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